Public (Skin) Health and the publishing source bias of Austrian information material
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Lifestyle-associated exposure to natural and artificial Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a causative factor for acute and chronic skin damage. Therefore, the availability of target group-specific information material on skin health promotion and disease prevention is a relevant Public (Skin) Health issue.
Information material (n=21) on sun-related health aspects freely available in Austria and provided by health care providers, sunscreen producers, and indoor tanning parlors was compared using an iterative, 16-point screening tool.
We report on heterogeneous strategies in health (risk) communication regarding amount of communicated information regarding (1) educative content (p=0.045), (2) sun protection (p=0.002), and (3) skin health (p=0.004). Material from health care providers and sunscreen producers focused on the disadvantages of sun light and suggested preventive measures (p=0.001). In contrast, indoor tanning parlors predominantly used stimulating pictures (p=0.004) and positive arguments to solicit sun bathing (p=0.001).
Public (Skin) Health campaigns and information materials could serve as a useful tool to increase public awareness regarding the hazards of exposure to sunlight. New strategies for skin health promotion could involve presenting standardized illustration and highlighting the benefits of UV light avoidance on appearance rather than provoking anxiety or psychological reactance.
KeywordsPublic (Skin) Health Information material Positive health communication Skin cancer Preventive medicine
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