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Parenting Magazines Give Little Attention to Sun Protection

Over 11-year period, few articles, ads relate to prevention of skin cancer, study funds

WEDNESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Two popular U.S. parenting magazines give little attention in terms of articles or advertisements to preventing skin cancer risk, according to a study published in the April issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease.

Corey H. Basch, Ed.D., M.P.H., from William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., and colleagues assessed a sample of issues of two popular parenting magazines published in the spring and summer during an 11-year period to describe the prevalence of articles and advertisements related to skin cancer prevention. A total of 2,594 articles were reviewed, and 6,307 advertisements were observed.

The researchers found that 2.2 percent of the articles were related to skin and 19.6 percent were related to health. Nearly half (42.1 percent) of the skin-related articles focused on sun protection. The topics covered in health-related articles ranged from fitness to emotional and behavioral issues. The frequency and percentage of skin and health articles did not change substantially over time. With respect to advertisements, 78.1 percent pertained to topics that were unrelated to health. Of the remaining advertisements, 8.5 percent focused on skin products, 81.8 percent of which were for skin products without sun protection factor. About 1 percent of the total advertisements were for sun block. During the 11-year period, the nature and scope of advertising relating to skin cancer risk reduction was similar in the two magazines.

"These findings suggest that parenting magazines and companies advertising in this medium can do much more to assist parents in making informed decisions about preventing skin cancer risk among youth," the authors write.

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