Sun-Smart Practices Amongst School Students (Grades 5, 7, and 9) in Alberta, Canada

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The aim of this study was to assess the current knowledge children possess on melanoma and sun-protective behaviour.


A one-page survey was administered to students in grades 5, 7, and 9.


Three hundred ninety-two students from 11 schools in Edmonton were surveyed. Seventy-one percent of students knew that sun exposure can cause skin cancers. Sixty-nine percent were taught by their parents about sun protection, but only 44% of students received similar instructions from teachers. Twenty percent of students indicated that they never or rarely wore sunscreen. Twenty-five percent of students had experienced painful sunburns, and only 46% were willing to use sunscreen if it were available at school. More Caucasian students reported painful or peeling sunburns in each grade level than their non-Caucasian peers (for grade 5, P = .003; for grade 7, P < .0001; for grade 9, P = .001). For all grade levels, the percentage of Caucasian students who indicated that they would not wear sunscreen when going out in the sun was greater than among their non-Caucasian peers (for grade 5, P < .001; for grade 7, P = .003; for grade 9, P = .015).


A comprehensive and focused approach to sun-smart education is recommended for students.

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