The Sun-safe Behaviors of U.S. Latinos

Among Latinos living in the United States, acculturation is associated with sunscreen use, but not with use of sun-protective clothing.

According to background information to a report in the July issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, DNA damage and skin cancer are an important health issue for U.S. Latinos. Their annual age-adjusted incidence of melanoma is 4.5 per 100,000, which represents an increase of 28.6 percent since 1992. Further, when melanoma is diagnosed, it tends to be thicker among Latinos than among non-Latino white individuals. Acculturation, defined as use of the English language and length of residence in the United States, may affect this population's efforts to avoid sun-related health problems, note the authors: "Acculturated Latinos might have increased exposure to sun safety information via health care access, education, and expanded social networks but display decreased engagement in some sun-safe behaviors."

Valentina A. Andreeva, Ph.D., from the University of Paris XIII in Bobigny, France, who conducted research at the University of Southern California, and colleagues examined cross-sectional data from the National Cancer Institute's 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey. Four-hundred ninety-six Latino respondents answered questions about sun-safe behaviors: wearing sunscreen, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and staying in shade when outside for at least one hour on warm, sunny days. Acculturation was determined by preferred language for the interview, perceived comfort with the English language and, for foreign-born respondents, age at U.S. arrival and duration of U.S. residence. Researchers also asked about health care access, educational level and social support from community organizations, family or friends, neighbors and religious institutions. The study focused on mediated associations. READ MORE

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