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Westernization May Affect Asian Americans' Sun Habits

Survey finds westernization to be associated with beliefs regarding tanning, sunscreen use

THURSDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Among Asian Americans, greater adoption of Western culture may be associated with practices that promote sun exposure, according to research published in the May Archives of Dermatology.

Emily Gorell, of the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues analyzed the results of a survey of 546 adults who self-identified as Asian American, which was conducted primarily online. Most were of Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese, or mixed Asian descent.

Among Asian Americans who were second generation or greater, 60 percent reported a history of sunbathing, compared to 47 percent of first-generation respondents. In multivariate regression controlling for age and skin type, westernization was associated with the belief that having a tan was attractive, as well as negative beliefs regarding sunscreen and protective clothing.

"In light of recent evidence pointing to the increasing incidence of skin cancers among Asian populations, as well as delays in diagnosis of skin cancer in part because of a lowered index of suspicion by health care providers and by Asian Americans, dermatologists and other health care providers in the United States should increase their education efforts about sun exposure, sun protection, and skin cancer targeted at this growing minority group," the authors conclude.

A co-author reported connections with NuSkin International and Spiracur Inc.

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