(HealthDay News) — Parental perceptions of skin cancer threat do not negatively influence children’s outdoor physical activity, according to a study published in the September issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Chronic Disease.

Alexander D. Tran, from the University of Colorado in Aurora, and colleagues analyzed data from parent telephone interviews for participants in the Colorado Kids Sun Care Program, a sun safety intervention trial. Physical examinations were conducted and data were analyzed for 999 Colorado children (aged 8 or 9 years).

The researchers found that each unit increase in perceived severity of non-melanoma skin cancer correlated with a significant, 30 percent increase in the hours of outdoor physical activity (P = 0.005), after controlling for sex, race, skin color, and sun protection. There was no association between hours of outdoor physical activity and perceived severity of melanoma or perceived susceptibility to skin cancer. There was no significant correlation between body mass index-for-age and perceptions of skin cancer threat, use of sun protection, or level of physical activity.

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“Two studies conducted in different settings now suggest that the promotion of sun safety is not likely to inhibit outdoor physical activity,” the authors write. “Although future studies should clarify and confirm these findings, this is encouraging for both sun safety and obesity prevention efforts. Skin cancer prevention efforts should be continued by focusing on using good sun protection practices while engaging in outdoor physical activity.”

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