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Beachgoers Accurately Report Sun-Protection Habits

By Robert Preidt
Skin cancer researchers focused on sun exposure may be on the right track: A new study finds that beachgoers accurately report their sun habits, such as use of sunscreen, protective clothing and time spent in the sun.

A team from the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, studied 88 adults, average age 40, who visited a beach in Honolulu in February or March 2004. The participants answered questions about their sun habits when they arrived at the beach, and again when they left the beach.

The researchers checked the participants' arms, legs and face for sunscreen, took note of their clothing, and assessed whether they had a sunburn.

Overall, the participants' self-reports of their sun habits were consistent with what was observed by the researchers. However, the study authors did observe that the beachgoers wore sunglasses less often than they reported they did.

"This study contributes to the paucity of existing research describing the validity of self-report sun habits," the researchers wrote. The study "confirms that self-report is a suitable approach to assess sun habits of beachgoers."

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