Well known gyms undermining health with tanning beds
The finish of 2019 brings with it holiday get-togethers, school vacations, and the yearly custom of New Year’s resolutions – with probably the most widely recognized resolutions being to exercise more and lose weight. Famous gym chains across the nation capitalize the wide want to get healthy in the New Year with persuasive post-holiday marketing campaigns, but at the same time they’re undermining public health warnings about the risks of indoor tanning, as indicated by a new study from UConn researchers published today by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open.
“An interesting study was published a few years ago that found an association between physical activity and increased risk for melanoma,” said Sherry Pagoto, a professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences and director of the UConn Center for Health and Social Media who is the lead author of today’s study. “Exercise is typically associated with reduced risk for cancer, so it was surprising to see an association with increased risk for melanoma. Around the same time, we began to notice some of the large gym chains offering tanning beds. This got us wondering just how many gyms are offering tanning beds and about the implications of marketing tanning beds too physically active people who we now know are at increased risk for melanoma.”
Little is known about how pervasive the presence of tanning beds is in gyms. In looking for better understanding, Pagoto’s group sampled areas from three of the six biggest national gym chains in the United States – Anytime Fitness, Gold’s Gym, and Planet Fitness. Over every one of the five regions of the nation, the specialists recognized 1,927 locations in 33 states and the District of Columbia and afterward surveyed those locations to check whether indoor tanning services were accessible for the location’s customers. An aggregate of 1,727 gyms reacted to the survey calls and inquiries.
More than 78 percent of the gyms came to had tanning beds: a total of 4,660 tanning beds were found in the 1,727 gyms. Planet Fitness gave more tanning beds than different gyms, followed by Anytime Fitness and afterward Gold’s Gym. The Midwest region had the highest proportion of tanning beds in the sampled gyms when contrasted with the other four regions in the nation – 87 percent of the locations surveyed in the Midwest had tanning beds.
“Gyms appear to be the new tanning salons,” Pagoto said. “This is surprising because we had sensed that the tanning industry was on the decline. However, it appears that the industry is just moving tanning beds into novel environments — with gyms being the most common.”
Pagoto proceeded, “Because people associate gyms with health, gyms are essentially putting a ‘health halo’ on tanning beds. The public health community has been trying to communicate the message to the public that tanning beds are not safe or healthy, but gyms with tanning beds are obstructing that message.”
The surveys were conducted between June 2018 and February 2019 and concentrated on just the three gym chains, which are among the six biggest gym chains in the United States. Just a single other chain, SNAP Fitness, gives tanning beds; the staying two chains – LA Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness – don’t offer indoor tanning, as per their corporate offices.
“The good news is that there are gym chains that do not include tanning beds in their business model, and so consumers have a choice,” Pagoto said. “I just have to question the motivation of any gym that uses a carcinogen to lure members. Is their priority my health? Regardless of whether a consumer uses tanning beds, they should take pause when considering their choice of gym.”
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer, is one of the most well-known kinds of cancer among ladies, particularly young ladies, and presentation to ultraviolet (UV) rays is the most preventable reason. While presentation to UV rays from indoor tanning beds is especially carcinogenic – more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer might be identified with indoor tanning in the United States every year, as indicated by a 2014 meta-analysis – it’s additionally totally avoidable.
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