[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess current sun protection policies and the receptiveness to new policies at elementary schools in the United States.
A cross-sectional telephone survey.
General educational community.
In 1998, a random sample of 1000 public elementary schools in the United States was selected (proportional to population size) from 27 metropolitan areas chosen from the 58 US cities regularly reporting the UV index in 1997. A final sample of principals from 412 elementary schools completed the survey.
Only 3.4% of schools had a sun protection policy. The most common reasons for not having a policy included the principal's lack of awareness (n = 113) or organizational barriers in the school districts (n = 77). Most principals (84.2%) said that students were outdoors during midday hours. Many principals (48.3%) were willing to adopt a sun protection policy. Most schools (72.8%) had shade structures but the majority (67.3%) reportedly covered less than one fifth of the grounds. Most principals (76.4%) were willing to increase the amount of shade structures.
The low frequency of sun protection policies and shade structures calls for national efforts to change policies and environments to increase sun protection at US schools. Research is needed to demonstrate the efficacy of these changes.
Archives of Dermatology 07/2002; 138(6):771-4. · 4.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Melanoma, the most fatal form of skin cancer, is rising at a rate faster than that of all preventable cancers except lung cancer in the United States. Childhood exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light increases the risk for skin cancer as an adult; thus starting positive sun protection habits early may be key to reducing incidence.
We evaluated the US Environmental Protection Agency's SunWise School Program, a national, environmental education program for sun safety of children in primary and secondary schools (kindergarten through eighth grade). The program was evaluated with surveys administered to participating students. An identical 18-question, self-administered survey was completed by students (median age, 10 years) in the classroom before and immediately after the SunWise educational program.
Surveys were completed by students in 40 schools before (pretests; n = 1894) and after the program was presented (post-tests; n = 1815). Significant improvement was noted for the 3 knowledge variables: appropriate type of sunscreen to be used for outdoor play, highest UV Index number, and need for hats and shirts outside. Intentions to play in the shade increased from 73% to 78% (P <.001), with more modest changes in intentions to use sunscreen. Attitudes regarding healthiness of a tan also decreased significantly.
Brief, standardized sun protection education can be efficiently interwoven into school health education and result in improvements in knowledge and positive intentions for sun protection.
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 06/2002; 46(5):683-9. · 4.91 Impact Factor