Teens motivated by looks rather than health
Researchers from Canada reported that teenagers who were randomised to watch a video that emphasised the effects of sun damage on appearance, including wrinkles and premature ageing, were significantly more likely to increase their sun-protective behaviours compared to teenagers who were only educated about UV exposure and skin cancer risk.
Students completed a questionnaire before the intervention to demonstrate their baseline knowledge about UV light and use of sun-protective behaviours and another six weeks later to demonstrate the knowledge they had retained and any changes in sun-protective behaviours.
While students learned and retained the same amount of information on UV exposure and skin cancer risk across both groups, only the teens who had watched the appearance-based video changed their behaviour and applied sunscreen at significantly greater frequencies compared with the health-based group.
"For teenagers, telling them UV exposure