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University, Resorts Partner on Sun Safety Campaign

Sun (NOAA)


Researchers at San Diego State University are partnering with vacation resorts in the U.S. and Canada to encourage their guests to practice smart sun protection. The San Diego team is headed by health communications professor Peter Andersen and funded by National Institutes of Health.

“More than two million new cases of skin cancer are reported each year in the United States,” says Andersen. “Our goal is to see if we can get guests at outdoor resorts to be more sun smart.”

The campaign is the product of studies by researchers over the past two years in San Diego’s communication, epidemiology, biostatisics, public health, and hospitality departments. Their data led to a strategy, including a Web site, for resorts to communicate sun safety to their guests from the time of making reservations until they check out.

Larry Beck, a professor in San Diego’s hospitality department and co-investigator on the project says one of the more negative experiences of vactioning resort guests is sunburn, which provides a common issue for the campaign’s message. “The resort is showing concern over the health and well-being of their guests, which reflects positively on the resort,” says Beck, “and guests are less likely to become sunburned, so they will enjoy their trip more and may avoid skin cancer in the future.”

The resorts taking part in the campaign promote a simple set of sun safety behaviors:

– Pre-apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
– Reapply sunscreen several times during midday
– Wear hats and protective clothing when in direct sun
– Seek shade
– Avoid being outside during high UV times of day

The campaign kicked off last month at two resorts in Florida: PGA Golf Resort in Palm Beach and Lago Mar Resort and Club in Fort Lauderdale. Other properties taking part are the Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia, Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire, Jackson Hole Resort in Wyoming, Rancho de los Caballeros in Arizona, and Miramonte Resort and Spa in California.

One of the posters created by Go Sun Smart researchers (San Diego State University)

One of the posters created by Go Sun Smart researchers (San Diego State University)

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