(HealthDay News) — Indoor tanning is common among high school students and is linked to engaging in other risky behaviors, according to a study published online February 26 in JAMA Dermatology.

Gery P. Guy Jr, PhD, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the prevalence of indoor tanning and its association with health-related behaviors. Data for 25,861 students participating in the 2009 and 2011 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys were analyzed.

The researchers found that indoor tanning prevalence was greater for female, older, and non-Hispanic white students. The highest prevalence was seen for female students aged ≥18 years (31.5%) and non-Hispanic white female students (29.3%). From 2009–2011, the adjusted prevalence of indoor tanning decreased among female students, from 26.4 to 20.7%. Indoor tanning correlated with other risk-taking behaviors in both female and male students, including binge drinking, unhealthy weight control practices, and having sexual intercourse. For female students, correlations were also seen for illegal drug use and having sexual intercourse with four or more persons, while for males, correlations were seen for illicit steroid use, daily cigarette smoking, and attempting suicide.

“The clustering of risky behaviors suggests a need for coordinated, multifaceted approaches, including primary care physician counseling, to address such behaviors among adolescents,” the authors write.

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