2015 Sun Safety Indicator Report

Purpose of the Health Indicator Report

To provide information about sunburns and sun safety behaviours among adults aged 18 and over living in Halton Region.

Background

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation comes from the sun as well as artificial sources like tanning beds and sunlamps.1 Exposure to UV radiation can have adverse health effects in as little as 15 minutes of exposure.2 Overexposure to UV radiation can lead to sunburn, premature ageing, skin cancers, diseases of the eye, and immune suppression. 3 UV radiation peaks during the hours of 11am to 4pm. To decrease the risk of sun damage, it is recommended to seek shade during peak periods, wear sunglasses, wear protective clothing (including a hat), and/or wear sunscreen when out in the sun.2

This Health Indicator Report uses data from the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Key Findings

Sunburns

Trends Over Time

  • In 2015, 30% of Halton adults reported having had a sunburn on any part of their body in the last 12 months.
  • From 2001 to 2015 the percentage of adults in Halton who reported having had a sunburn in the last 12 months decreased from 39% to 30%, and this decrease was statistically significant.

Sex

  • In 2015, Halton males were more likely than females to report having had a sunburn in the last 12 months, and this difference was statistically significant.

Age

  • In 2015, the percentage of Halton adults aged 18 and over who reported having had a sunburn in the last 12 months decreased as age increased. This difference was statistically significant when comparing adults aged 18-24 to all other age groups and when comparing adults aged 65+ to all other age groups.

Municipality

  • In 2015, there were no statistically significant differences by municipality in the percentage of Halton adults who reported having had a sunburn in the last 12 months.

Income

  • In 2015, the percentage of Halton adults who reported having had a sunburn in the last 12 months increased as income increased. This difference was statistically significant when comparing adults in the low income group to adults in the middle and high income groups.

Education

  • In 2015, the percentage of Halton adults who reported having had a sunburn in the last 12 months was higher among those who were post-secondary graduates compared to those who were not post-secondary graduates, and this difference was statistically significant.

Protective Behaviours

Peak Hours

  • In 2015, 38% of Halton adults reported always/often avoiding the sun between 11am and 4pm. This has not changed significantly since 2001.

Sunglasses

  • In 2015, 73% of Halton adults reported always/often wearing sunglasses with UV protection when in the sun. From 2001 to 2015, this significantly increased from 64% to 73%.

Sunscreen

  • In 2015, 52% of Halton adults reported always/often wearing sunscreen when in the sun. From 2001 to 2015, this significantly increase from 44% to 52%.

Protective Clothing

  • In 2015, 43% of Halton adults reported always/often wearing protective clothing when in the sun. This has not changed significantly since 2001.

References

  1. Health Canada. 2014. Ultraviolet Radiation. Accessed June 2016 from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/radiation/ultraviolet/index-eng.php
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2014. Sun Safety. Accessed June 2016 from http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm
  3. Health Canada. 2016. Sun Safety. Retrieved June 2016 from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/sun-sol/index-eng.php