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Sun Safety

US Schools Get Low Grade for Practicing Sun Safety

Limiting exposure to UV radiation from the sun is the recommendation to reduce risk of skin cancer. Also, data suggest that intermittent, recreational exposure more often leads to sunburns. The strategies to prevent sunburn generally include using broad-spectrum sunscreen, avoiding outdoor activities during midday, seeking shade, and using protective clothing and sunglasses.

A recent study analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of schools in the United States to identify whether there are any school characteristics associated with having adopted practices that promote sun safety. The authors looked at whether school activities were scheduled to avoid the sun’s peak intensity, whether use of sunscreen was encouraged and whether use of protective clothing and sunglasses was encouraged. The study also examined whether these policies and practices varied due to school level, region, metropolitan status, school enrollment, and poverty concentration.

The results showed that overall, sun safety practices were not common among schools. The most commonly followed practice was for teachers to allow time for students to apply sunscreen at school, and that happened in less than half the schools surveyed. High schools fared worse than elementary and middle schools for all sun safety practices. The other school characteristics studied were either not significantly associated with the adoption of any of the sun safety school practices or were inconsistently associated with such policies and practices. The authors conclude that despite ample evidence that sun safety practices would benefit this at-risk population, school practices that could protect children and adolescents while at school, and that could change norms about sun safety practices, are not common in US schools.


Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Posted: June 28, 2017

Source: The JAMA Network
Adapted from the original article.

[Image: Shutterstock]

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