Reduced sun exposure and tanning in children after 2 years of a school-based intervention (Australia)

Research paper by Elizabeth Milne, Dallas R. English, Robyn Johnston, Donna Cross, Ron Borland, Billie Giles-Corti, Christine Costa

Indexed on: 01 Jun '01Published on: 01 Jun '01Published in: Cancer Causes & Control


Objective: This paper presents the results of the evaluation of measured suntan and parent-reported sun exposure in participating children after 2 years of the Kidskin study, a 5-year school-based sun protection intervention undertaken in Perth, Western Australia (1995–1999).Methods: The study involves three groups: a control, a “moderate”, and a “high” intervention group. Participants were 5 or 6 years of age at the beginning of the study. Control schools received the standard Health Education curriculum, while intervention schools received a multicomponent intervention including a specially designed curriculum. Children in the high intervention group also received program materials over the summer vacation and were offered sun-protective swimwear at low cost. At the end of the second summer, suntan was measured and parents completed a questionnaire about their child's sun-related behavior.Results: Children in the intervention groups – especially the high group – were less tanned at the end of the summer; this effect was greater for the back than for the forearms. These children were also reported to have received less sun exposure and made greater use of sun protection measures.Conclusion: Intensive school-based interventions can reduce tanning and reported sun exposure in children.