Teen Tanning Is Tied to Risky Behavior


Teens tanning indoors have a higher likelihood of engaging in hazardous behaviors.  Teens using indoor tanning beds and lamps are more inclined to take part in binge drinking, unhealthy dieting habits and sexual activity. The center of disease control and prevention released records of teen students surveyed over a two year period.  The study was conducted from 2009-2011 and targeted grades ninth through twelfth.

The survey chronicled behaviors in teen students as they regard to health.  The results rendered that 16 percent of students used tanning devices indoors in 2009.  This number dropped to 13 percent when reported in 2011.  Young females that engaged in fake tanning were more likely to have had sex with four or more partners and use illegal drugs. Males had a higher risk of smoking, attempted suicide, and non-prescription steroid use. Teens that tan indoors are more likely to be concerned with their physical appearance.  Regulating the outside appearance can be a positive action as it pertains to participation in sports and healthy eating habits.

The appearance card is a double edge sword that can slice both ways.  There are some teens that will adopt healthy eating styles and consistently stay physically fit.  This is established with a consistent regimen of healthy habits and tactics developed to maintain outside appearances.  The flip side of the appearance coin is that the same driving force enlisted to attain that physique can tear it down.  The obsession to chisel the perfect physique can lead to illegal steroid use and unhealthy weight restraints.

The dangerous methods sought out to achieve the desired physique are far stretched.  Many individuals partake in extreme practices in order to alter their physical appearance.  Teens in tanning beds are not alone when it comes to indulging in ill-mannered practices.  The correlation established between indoor tanning and harmful habits is just happenstance.  Understandably, the study does not claim that teens laying in a tanning bed will directly cause bad behavior.  The survey has simply established a link of underage drinking, steroid use, illegal drug use, promiscuity, and improper weight management in teens that tan.

Teens exposing themselves to foreign illegal substances will partake in reprehensible behavior regardless of tanning status.  The youngest age represented in the study of 26,000 youth was 14.  At age 14 much experimentation takes place in order to apply social interaction and adapt to surroundings.  Teens analyzing the actions of peers tanning at alarmingly high rates will influence tanning decisions.

These teen decisions can also fall victim to television influence as well.  Jesrsey Shore is a MTV reality series that received successful ratings for many years glorifying the fake tanning epidemic.  The show has since been cancelled and some cast members have renounced fake tanning days because of the physical health risks.   Several members on the television series were involved in illegal drug use, promiscuity, improper weight management, and were extremely obsessed with physical appearance.  Tanning beds were coincidentally included in the dubious behavior.  During the two year examination period teens under the age of 18 saw a 5 percent decrease in tanning.  This could possibly be attributed to the cancellation of the Jersey Shore.  Advanced at home tanning tools may also attribute to the decline in teen tanning.  Tanning beds and lamps can be associated with risky behavior, but by no means predicts harmful habits in teens.

Opinion By Ebony Waller


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