Objective To document the prevalence and characteristics of the use of sun-protective items by Japanese pedestrians during the midday hours of summer weekends.
Design Cross-sectional study.
Setting Observations were undertaken at 5 locales in central Tokyo on weekends between 11 AM and 2 PM from August 7 through 22, 2010.
Participants A total of 2338 Japanese pedestrians, from adolescents to senior citizens, were included in the study. Those wearing uniforms and formal attire and individuals of non-Japanese ethnicity were excluded.
Main Outcome Measures The study examined the prevalence of the use of sun-protective items by pedestrians, including hats, parasols, sunglasses, and gloves/protective sleeves, and its association with demographic factors.
Results Japanese female pedestrians demonstrated greater use of 1 or more sun-protective items compared with their male counterparts (53.0% vs 30.2%, P < .001), with parasols being the most popular item (33.0%). The wearing of sunglasses by pedestrians was low overall (males, 8.5%; females, 6.5%), despite the high UV indices recorded during the observation period. A significant proportion of adolescents and young adults (males, 77.1%; females, 65.1%) did not use any sun-protective items.
Conclusions The promotion of sun-safety measures, including the use of sun-protective items among Japanese adolescents and young adults, may be warranted. The low use of sunglasses by Japanese pedestrians suggests a need to raise public awareness of UV-related ocular damage.