The study also found that significant portions of most racial and ethnic groups reported getting sunburned in the three years -- 1999, 2003, and 2004 -- when the data was collected through surveys.
The study authors noted that sunburn increases the risk of developing melanoma and basal cell carcinoma skin cancers.
Sunburn rates in 2004 were 46.9 percent for non-Hispanic white men; 39.6 percent for non-Hispanic white women; 12.4 percent for Hispanic black men; 9.5 percent for Hispanic black women; 16.2 percent for male Asians/Pacific Islanders; 16.1 percent for female Asians/Pacific Islanders; 30.4 percent for male American Indians/Alaska Natives; 21.5 percent for female American Indians/Alaska Natives; and 5.8 percent for male and female non-Hispanic blacks.
Overall, men were more likely to get sunburned (35.8 percent in 1999, 37 percent in both 2003 and 2004) than women (28 percent, 30.2 percent and 30.3 percent, respectively).
The highest rate of sunburn prevalence among whites in any of the three years was in Utah (51.3 percent in 2003), while the lowest was in Arizona (25.7 percent in 1999). Twenty states reported a statistically significant increase in sunburn rates among whites, while four states -- Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and Louisiana -- reported a significant decrease.
The study findings are published in Friday's edition of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Sunburn can be prevented by following such sun-protection measures as wearing a hat; covering up while in the sun; avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; and using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
HealthDay News, May 31, 2007