Sun-safe pool policies appear related to sun safety behaviors among pool staff

Feb 16, 2009

The social environment at swimming pools appears to be related to sun safety behaviors of outdoor pool staff, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Skin cancer accounts for almost half of all cancers diagnosed in the United States, and there is both direct and indirect evidence that sun exposure can cause skin cancer," according to background information in the article. Outdoor lifeguards and aquatic instructors are particularly at high risk for overexposure to the sun because they are young and because they work outdoors. Sunburn tends to be common among young adults in high school and college due to poor sun protection habits. "About 50 percent of aquatic staff had a history of severe sunburn and almost 80 percent had experienced sunburn the previous summer."

"Interventions in the workplace may be effective for reducing sun exposure and improving sun protective behaviors of outdoor workers, but there are few published reports of sun protection interventions in occupational settings and inconsistent findings across those reports," the authors note.

Dawn M. Hall, M.P.H., and colleagues at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, studied data collected from the Pool Cool skin cancer prevention program to analyze the associations among the pool environment, social norms and outdoor lifeguards' and aquatic instructors' sun protection habits and sunburns in 2001 and 2002. Demographic information was also noted.

A total of 191 pools participated in the program during one or both summers. There were 699 participants in 2001 and 987 participants in 2002 (ages 15 to 60). Most participants were white and female and more than half were between the ages of 15 and 19.

More than 80 percent of respondents reported habitually wearing sunglasses and more than 60 percent reported wearing sunscreen regularly, while less than half reported regularly using a shirt with sleeves, staying in the shade or wearing a hat while exposed to the sun. More than 60 percent of participants taught the Pool Cool sun safety lessons each year. "There was a trend toward fewer sunburns as social norms, pool policies and participation in the Pool Cool program increased, but results differed across the two years," the authors write. "In 2001, lower social norms scores and pool policy scores were associated with more reported sunburns. In 2002, teaching Pool Cool sun safety lessons was associated with fewer sunburns."

"Healthy sun protection behaviors among one's peers will likely have a positive influence on an individual's sun safety habits," they conclude. "Furthermore, sun-safe pool policies also foster healthier sun safety behaviors among the staff while they are at work and create a work environment conducive to developing health sun protection habits."

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Radiologist recommendations for chest CT have high clinical yield

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sun, sand, surf and radiation in shadow of Fukushima

Aug 30, 2013

With its towering waves, golden sand and stunning scenery, Toyoma beach in Iwaki is an almost perfect spot for surfing—if only it wasn't just down the coast from Japan's leaking Fukushima nuclear power ...

Baby fish 'steer by the sun'

Jul 08, 2013

(Phys.org) —Baby coral reef fishes find their way home using the sun and a body clock to steer by.

Expert: North Carolina's beaches cleaner than most

Jun 10, 2010

North Carolina's beach-goers generally enjoy clean water, but the ocean can become polluted after a heavy rainfall. Rachel Noble, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill water-quality expert, gives the ...

Steering around skin cancer

May 14, 2010

If Dr. Scott Fosko had his way, truckers would slather on sunscreen as routinely as they log their miles. As National Skin Cancer Awareness month rolls by and the sun's rays get stronger, Fosko, chairman of dermatology at ...

Recommended for you

New approach to particle therapy dosimetry

Dec 19, 2014

Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in collaboration with EMRP partners, are working towards a universal approach to particle beam therapy dosimetry.

Supplement maker admits lying about ingredients

Dec 17, 2014

Federal prosecutors say the owner and president of a dietary supplement company has admitted his role in the sale of diluted and adulterated dietary ingredients and supplements sold by his company.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.