Indexed on: 28 Aug '01Published on: 28 Aug '01Published in: Preventive Medicine
Each year, millions of children visit zoological parks, where they are exposed to long bouts of ultraviolet radiation (UVR). We conducted a study in the winter and replicated it in the summer to evaluate an intervention for reducing UVR exposure during the zoo visit.Each study used a nonequivalent control group design: one zoological site received the intervention and a second received evaluation only. Key outcome measures consisted of observed prevalence of hat use by exiting children (N = 8,721 and 8,524, respectively, in winter and summer studies) and purchase rates of sunscreen and hats in zoo gift shops. Intervention consisted of tip sheets for parents, children's activities, prompts, and discounts off the price of sunscreen and sun-protective hats.In the summer study, sales of both sunscreen and target hats increased significantly at the intervention site relative to the control site, whereas in the winter study, only sunscreen sales at the intervention site had a significant (relative) increase. Children's hat use increased significantly at the intervention site, but only in the winter study.The multicomponent program was effective in promoting purchases of sun-safe items, but its impact on children's hat use was inconclusive.