• The presence of acquired benign nevi is a risk factor for cutaneous melanoma, yet relatively little is known about the etiology of nevi. We have conducted a study of the prevalence of melanocytic nevi among 1146 white Vancouver (Canada) schoolchildren aged 6 to 18 years. Numbers of nevi per square meter of body surface area increase with age in children of both sexes. Male adolescents have more nevi than female adolescents on the head and neck as well as on the trunk, while prevalence in females is higher on the upper and lower limbs. This distribution parallels that of cutaneous melanoma in British Columbia adults. Nevi are more common in children on intermittently exposed body sites than on constantly or minimally sun-exposed sites. This suggests that exposure to strong intermittent sunlight in childhood (a risk factor for cutaneous melanoma) may also be important in the etiology of acquired benign nevi.
(Arch Dermatol. 1990;125:466-471)