Frequency of sunburn in queensland adults: Still a burning issue

Adèle C. Green, Louise Marquart, Susan L. Clemens, Catherine M. Harper, Peter K. O'Rourke

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective: To assess the current frequency of sunburn, a preventable risk factor for skin cancer, among Queensland adults. Design and setting: Cross-sectional population-based surveys of 16473 residents aged ≥18 years across Queensland in 2009 and 2010. Main outcome measures: Proportion of the adult population reporting sunburn (skin reddening lasting 12 hours or more) during the previous weekend, by age, sex and other risk factors. Results: One in eight men and one in 12 women in Queensland reported being sunburnt on the previous weekend. Age up to 65 years was the strongest predictor of sunburn: eg, people aged 18-24 years were seven times more likely (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 7.35; 95% CI, 5.09-10.62) and those aged 35-44 years were five times more likely (adjusted OR, 5.22) to report sunburn compared with those aged ≥65 years. Not having a tertiary education and being in the workforce were also significantly associated with sunburn. Those who had undertaken any physical activity the previous week were more likely to be sunburnt than those who were physically inactive. Sunburn was significantly less likely among people who generally took sun-protective measures in summer. Sunburn was not related to location of residence, socioeconomic disadvantage, skin colour, body weight or current smoking status. Conclusions: Sunburn remains a public health problem among Queensland residents, especially those under 45 years of age. Sun-safe habits reduce sunburn risk, but advice must be integrated with health promotion messages regarding physical activity to reduce the skin cancer burden while maintaining active wellbeing.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)431-434
    Number of pages3
    JournalMedical Journal of Australia
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - May 2013


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