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Abstract

Skin cancer studies depend on questionnaires to estimate exposure to ultraviolet light and subsequent risk but are limited by recall bias. We investigate the feasibility of developing a short checklist of categories comprising outdoor activities that can improve sun exposure questionnaires for use in epidemiologic studies. We recruited 124 working and retired U.S. radiologic technologists (52% women). Each subject was instructed to complete a daily activity diary, listing main indoor and outdoor activities between 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. during a 7 day period. A total of 4697 entries were associated with 1408 h (21.1%) of the total 6944 h spent outdoors. We were able to classify the activities into seven main activity categories: driving, yard work, home-maintenance, walking or performing errands, water activities, other recreational or sports activities and leisure activities or relaxing outside. These activities accounted for more than 94% of time spent outdoors both for working and retired men and women. Our data document the feasibility and guidance for developing a short checklist of outdoor activities for use in epidemiologic questionnaires for estimating sunlight exposures of working and retired indoor workers.