Major health organizations recommend obtaining most of one's vitamin D through dietary sources rather than from sun exposure, given the link between sun exposure and increased skin cancer risk. The purpose of this study is to examine the association between beliefs about vitamin D and skin cancer risk-related behaviors, a topic on which research is limited. We analyzed cross-sectional online survey data collected in the summer of 2015 from 4127 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older. Overall, 19.7% of adults believed that sun protection would put them at risk of not getting enough vitamin D. However, less than half (43.1%) thought they could get enough vitamin D from dietary sources. Individuals with this belief were more likely to protect their skin when spending time outdoors (71.3%) compared with those who were neutral or disagreed (56.5%; P < 0.001). Only 5.1% of adults believed that indoor tanning is an effective way to get vitamin D. Compared to those who disagreed or were neutral, those who thought it was effective were more likely to be outdoor tanners (45.1% vs. 28.5%; P < 0.001) and indoor tanners (13.8% vs 1.9%; P < 0.001). Beliefs about vitamin D were associated with skin cancer risk-related behaviors. Including information about vitamin D in skin cancer prevention messages may be beneficial.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Indoor tanning
- Skin cancer prevention
- Sun protection
- Sun safety
- Vitamin D