Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 188–203 | Cite as

The relationship between indoor tanning and body mass index, physical activity, or dietary practices: a systematic review

  • Carolyn J. HeckmanEmail author
  • Marissa Manning


A systemic review was conducted to better understand the relationship between indoor tanning and body mass index (BMI), physical activity, or dietary practices. Articles included in this review were obtained via a systematic search of PubMed following PRISMA guidelines. Available articles were published between September, 2003 and May, 2017 and contained data regarding indoor tanning and BMI, physical activity, or dietary practices. Sixteen publications met final inclusion criteria. Results of this review indicate significant positive associations between indoor tanning and high physical activity levels, playing sports, and both unhealthy and healthy diet and weight control practices. Frequent or dependent indoor tanning was associated with unhealthy dietary practices in most studies or risk for exercise addiction in one study. Results were mixed for BMI. This review demonstrates associations between indoor tanning and physical activity or dietary practices. Despite the use of some unhealthy strategies (e.g., indoor tanning, fasting, vomiting, laxative, or steroid use), common motives for these behaviors include a desire to appear attractive and/or healthy. Findings from this study can help inform future research and possible interventions for individuals engaging in relevant risky health behaviors.


Indoor tanning Physical activity Weight BMI Diet Systematic review 



The authors thank Mary Riley for her assistance with manuscript preparation and Kristen Sorice for her review and feedback on an earlier version of the manuscript.


This study was funded by the National Cancer Institute (P30CA006927, P30CA072720).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Carolyn J. Heckman and Marissa Manning declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Population Science, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Philadelphia College of Osteopathic MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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