Harrogate, Tennessee, July 18, 2018 – Both the use of tanning beds and an increase in physical activity have been associated with an increased risk of malignant melanoma. A new study on the tanning habits among gym tanners and other tanners published in JAMA Dermatology today explores that connection and provides evidence that gym tanners are at risk for tanning dependence. Dr. Vinayak K. Nahar, a Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) assistant professor and researcher, served as co-investigator on the study with a team of researchers led by Dr. Sherry L. Pagoto.
“This study has shown us that people who tan in a gym, tend to tan more often. And we already know that the more a person tans, the greater their risk is to developing skin cancer,” Nahar said. “The presence of tanning beds could reinforce the misconception that tanning is healthy.”
Pagoto, a professor and the director for the University of Connecticut Center for Health and Social Media, is one of the top researchers in skin cancer prevention behavior. The project was a collaboration between researchers from the University of Connecticut, Lincoln Memorial University, University of Mississippi Medical Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Pennsylvania State University and East Tennessee State University.
The study polled 773 individuals who have either tanned indoors or intended to do so. Data was used from 636 of those respondents who had tanned indoors at least once. The findings revealed that 24 percent of indoor tanners had tanned at least once in a gym and 28.6 percent primarily tanned in a gym. They also found that people who tanned in a gym were younger and more physically active, and reported significantly more tanning visits than other tanners. The results shows greater physical activity was associated with a higher frequency of tanning.
“This study tells us that we need to increase skin care prevention efforts by targeting gyms and active adults to help to reduce skin cancer risk in the future,” Nahar said
Nahar serves several roles at LMU including assistant professor of Public Health and One Health at Lincoln Memorial University-College of Veterinary Medicine, a researcher for the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Center of Animal and Human Health in Appalachia. Nahar also serves as a researcher for the Department at the Dermatology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He was responsible for the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of the data as well as drafting the manuscript. His research focuses on using health behavior theoretical models to conceptualize preventive behaviors.
Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423.869.6280 or e-mail at admissions@LMUnet.edu.