Indoor Tanning and Eating Disorders Linked in Adolescents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Stephen M. Amrock, SM
Department of Pediatrics
New York University School of Medicine
New York, NY 10016

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: We analyzed data from a nationally representative survey on youth risk behaviors. After adjusting for other risk taking behaviors, we found that high school adolescents who indoor tan were much more likely to also engage in behaviors typically associated with eating disorders. We also noted that the link between indoor tanning and such harmful weight control behaviors was even stronger among males than females.


MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: That the link between indoor tanning use and unhealthy weight control behaviors appears stronger in males was unexpected. In light of the high numbers of adolescents who indoor tan, such findings highlight the need to address indoor tanning and other risky behaviors with all adolescent patients, both male and female. In addition, our findings highlight further the more general need for clinicians to consider unhealthy weight control behaviors in all adolescents.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: We suggest that pediatricians, dermatologists, and other healthcare providers ask all patients about indoor tanning. Indoor tanning significantly increases the risk for melanoma and our findings suggest that indoor tanning use may reflect other risk-taking behaviors, including potential eating disorders that need to be addressed by a mental health professional.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: Our results suggest a need to assess the interplay between body weight, self-perception of body weight, and the onset of indoor tanning in a longitudinal cohort. Ideally, work aimed at understanding and addressing how and why these behaviors move in tandem will lead to improved policies and patient counseling strategies to help curb the increases in melanoma.

Citation:

Adolescent Indoor Tanning Use and Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors
Amrock, Stephen M. SM*; Weitzman, Michael MD*,†

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics:

April 2014 – Volume 35 – Issue 3 – p 165-171

doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000050