Sun tan preferences among young people

Why this indicator is important

Melanoma is the most common cancer among young Australians aged 15 to 39 years.1

Skin cancer is a highly preventable cancer. At least 95% of melanoma skin cancers and 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.2

About this indicator

This indicator highlights the proportion of young people (aged 12 to 17 years) who have a preference for a tan (light to very dark). It is a measure of reducing their exposure to UV radiation.

In 2017, the preference for a tan among young people reduced to 57.6% compared with 60.7% in 2014.

The proportion of young people who prefer having a tan ranged from 45.1% to 70.3% across LHDs in 2017. 

Proportion of young people* who have a preference for a tan (light to very dark), by local health district (LHD) ranked, NSW, 2014 and 2017

N = Number of survey respondents

* People aged 12 to 17 years.


  1. Data source: NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey (Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health).
  2. The figures for Far West LHD are not available due to very small numbers.


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Cancer in adolescents and young adults in Australia. Cat. No. CAN 110. Canberra: AIHW, 2018.
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Skin Cancer in Australia. Cat. No. CAN 96. Canberra: AIHW, 2016.