Culture and Sun Exposure in Immigrant East Asian Women Living in Australia

Haeyoung Jang, Fung Kuen Koo, Liang Ke, Lindy Clemson, Rosemary Cant, David R. Fraser, Marcus J. Seibel, Marilyn Tseng, Elias Mpofu, Rebecca S. Mason, Kaye Brock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


In this qualitative study, researchers examined cultural and attitudinal factors that might be related to sun-exposure behaviors among East Asian women living in Australia. Researchers asked Chinese (n = 20) and Korean (n = 16) immigrant women who participated in a larger cross-sectional quantitative study of vitamin D blood levels to volunteer to participate in an in-depth interview in 2010. These women reported a number of cultural factors related to their attitudes and behaviors with regard to sun exposure. They expressed preference for fair skin, a tradition of covering skin when outdoors, and no sunbathing culture. They believed that fair skin was more beautiful than tanned skin. They reported that beauty was the reason for active avoidance of sunlight exposure. Although they reported knowledge of the need for sun avoidance due to skin cancer risk, few reported knowledge about the benefits of sun exposure for adequate vitamin D levels. These findings may provide some reasons for vitamin D deficiency previously reported in these populations. Thus, researchers recommend that these attitudes of excessive sun protection and limiting sun exposure be further investigated as they may have implications for planning and delivery of health promotion programs to this growing population of immigrants in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-518
Number of pages15
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • East Asian women
  • fair skin preference
  • sun avoidance
  • vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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