Awareness, understanding, use, and impact of the UV index: A systematic review of over two decades of international research
The ultraviolet radiation index (UVI) was adopted internationally to raise awareness about and encourage the public to protect their skin from skin cancer. The current paper is a systematic review of over 20 years of research investigating awareness, comprehension, use, and impact of the UVI. Thirty-one studies were included from the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. Awareness of the UVI varies by country, with samples from some countries demonstrating high awareness. However, comprehension and use of the UVI to inform sun safety behaviors are typically much lower. In fact, greater UVI awareness has sometimes been associated with riskier UV-related behaviors such as intentional tanning. Fewer studies have evaluated interventions, and their results have been mixed. In summary, more research is needed to determine how to help the public understand and use the UVI for effective skin protection. This review offers suggestions for future use of and research with the UVI.