Asian Americans may be risking their skin health by adopting behaviors of Western culture that lead to more sun exposure, a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine has revealed.
For the study, Emily Gorell, B.A., and colleagues at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif., conducted an online survey of Asian Americans living in California from November 2007 to January 2008.
Participants provided information regarding the degree to which they had acculturated along with details on sun exposure, protection and skin cancer-related habits.
Of the 546 individuals (average age 34) who completed the survey, 57.3 percent identified themselves as being of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, 8.2 percent as Korean, 6 percent as Japanese and 12 percent as mixed Asian descent.
Those who were more westernized-defined as those whose families had been in the United States for at least a generation, who were raised mostly or only in the United States rather than in Asia or who rated themselves as more acculturated-more often had attitudes and behaviours promoting sun exposure.
"Among more westernized Asian Americans, the practice of deliberate sunbathing was widespread," the authors said.
A history of laying out in the sun was reported by 60 percent of second-generation or greater Asian Americans (vs. 47 percent of first-generation), 59.1 percent among those raised mostly or exclusively in the United States (vs. 33.7 percent for those raised mostly or exclusively in Asia) and 58 percent of those who rated themselves as bicultural or more westernized (vs. 43.6 percent of those who self-identified as more Asian).
"Specifically, the adoption of Western culture seems to increase sun exposure, implying negative consequences to skin health," the authors said.
The study is published in the May issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.