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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 Nov;57(5):883-7.

Sun habits in the children of Southern Italy.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy.


Skin cancer represents an increasingly worldwide public health problem. Because an estimated 50% to 80% of the skin's lifetime sun damage is thought to occur in childhood, it is during this critical period that excessive sun exposure is considered a risk factor for later development of skin cancer. Our objective was to investigate sun habits of children of Southern Italy. The population was a randomly selected sample of 800 parents of children who attended primary schools in Campania between December 2005 and September 2006. Interviews were conducted using a questionnaire, which provided information about sociodemographic characteristics, parents' knowledge about the risk of skin cancer, their level of education, and their and their children's sun-protection and sun-exposure habits. Our results show that 45% of the children were exposed to the sun less than 2 hours a day; it is important to notice that 71.2% often stayed in the sun from 11 am to 4 pm. About 40% of children had sunburns during holidays. These data show that prevention should imperatively be emphasized for improving sun-protection and sun-exposure habits.

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