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Health Promot J Austr. 2008 Aug;19(2):86-90.

Australian primary schools' sun protection policy and practice: evaluating the impact of the National SunSmart Schools Program.

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Behavioural Research and Evaluation Unit, The Cancer Council South Australia, Unley, SA.



This study investigated trends in sun protection policy and practice of Australian primary schools between 1998 and 2005 and the impact of the National SunSmart Schools Program.


Between September and November 2005, primary schools from all states and territories in Australia were surveyed on their sun protection policy and practice. Data were compared to 1998 and 2001 data and analysed using descriptive statistics and chi-square tests.


There has been an increase in the proportion of schools with written sun protection policy to 80%, although some aspects of policy were less likely to be included in 2005 than in 2001. Trends in sun protection practice were varied with a significant increase in hat wearing (to 85%) and a significant decrease in sunscreen use. SunSmart schools were found to have a higher level of policy (95% CF 65%, p<0.001) and practice than non-SunSmart schools. Including specific aspects of sun protection in written policy were linked significantly to the corresponding practice for all aspects of sun protection except shade adequacy.


These findings highlight the need to continue encouraging the development of comprehensive written sun protection policies in primary schools and advocate for continued support for primary school sun protection activities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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