Teens Who Tan Indoors More Likely to Use Illegal Drugs, Binge Drink: Study

A new study links teen indoor tanning with other risky health behaviors including use of illegal drugs, binge drinking and smoking.

The findings come from a government survey of high school students, HealthDay reports. The survey found teens who tan indoors are likely to be concerned about their appearance, which can increase the chance they will engage in sports and eat healthy foods. But indoor tanning can also lead to unhealthy behaviors, such as steroid use or extreme weight control, according to lead author Gery Guy Jr. of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers looked at data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. They focused on the responses of almost 26,000 students who answered questions about indoor tanning. They found about 13 percent of students said they tanned indoors in 2011, and more than half of these students said they did so 10 or more times in the past year.

Boys who tanned indoors were more likely to take steroids without a prescription, smoke or attempt suicide. Girls who tanned indoors were more likely to use illegal drugs or have multiple sex partners. Both boys and girls who tanned indoors were more likely to binge drink and to maintain unhealthy weight-control habits.

The findings appear in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

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