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J Cutan Med Surg. 1999 Jul;3(5):230-5.

Sun and the skin: evaluation of a sun awareness program for elementary school students.

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Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.



Research suggests that childhood exposure to ultraviolet radiation is a significant risk factor for the development of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. Sun awareness education programs for children can positively influence children's sun protective practices to decrease the risk of skin cancer.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate a sun awareness education program, entitled "Sun and the Skin" that had recently been developed and implemented in London, Ontario.


The study uses a pre- and posttest design to evaluate both knowledge and behaviour of Grade 4 students participating in the program at baseline, immediately after, and 1 month after the program.


The students demonstrated a significant increase in their sun-protective practices after participation in the "Sun and the Skin" program. There was a significant improvement in the students' level of knowledge after the program. Improvement in both behaviour and knowledge were maintained weeks after completion of the program. Minor differences in knowledge due to demographic characteristics were detected after the program.


A sun awareness education program for Grade 4 students can improve both their knowledge and behaviour over time. This format should be used in conjunction with changes in school policy in order to make a significant longterm impact.

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