B4434 - Body image and risky sun exposure in young people living in a developed country - 23/10/2023

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Carolina Bonilla | Faculty of Medicine, Universidade de São Paulo (Brasil)
Gabriel Hermann
Title of project: 
Body image and risky sun exposure in young people living in a developed country
Proposal summary: 

This project is concerned with the rising incidence of skin cancer[1] and its primary causes, such as exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR), highlighting the role of body image on behaviours related to UVR exposure, including sunbathing and indoor tanning.
Body image incorporates body size estimation, evaluation of attractiveness, and emotional responses related to body shape and size[2]. A key aspect is the discrepancy between perceived societal body ideals and one's own appearance, which leads to body dissatisfaction[3]. The incidence of body dissatisfaction is on the rise among young populations in both developed and developing countries[3-4]. In addition, body image has been implicated in various unhealthy behaviours, like harmful weight control practices, disordered eating, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and sunbed use, which are often interrelated[3].
The current proposal will examine the association between body dissatisfaction and tanning habits in ALSPAC young adults, aiming to identify targets for prevention of behaviours that increase risk for skin cancer in this population.


[1] Urban K, Mehrmal S, Uppal P, Giesey RL, Delost GR. The global burden of skin cancer: A longitudinal analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study, 1990–2017. JAAD International. 2021;2: 98–108. doi:10.1016/J.JDIN.2020.10.013

[2] Grogan S. Body image and health: contemporary perspectives. J Health Psychol. 2006;11: 523–530. doi:10.1177/1359105306065013

[3] Strand M, Fredlund P, Boldemann C, Lager A. Body image perception, smoking, alcohol use, indoor tanning, and disordered eating in young and middle-aged adults: findings from a large population-based Swedish study. BMC Public Health. 2021;21: 128. doi:10.1186/s12889-021-10158-4

[4] Bornioli A, Lewis-Smith H, Smith A, Slater A, Bray I. Adolescent body dissatisfaction and disordered eating: Predictors of later risky health behaviours. Social Science & Medicine. 2019;238: 112458. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112458

Impact of research: 
By assessing the influence of body image on UVR exposure, be it natural or artificial, we expect to identify targets for prevention of skin cancer in young adults, who, due to their fair skin phenotypes, are at a disproportionate risk of malignancy.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 9 October, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 23 October, 2023
Epidemiology, Mental health, Statistical methods, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution, body image; sun exposure; indoor tanning; ultraviolet radiation