Sunlight contains ultraviolet radiation, and while some sun exposure is beneficial to health, for example, by helping the body to produce vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones, excessive sun exposure can lead to several forms of skin cancer, eye disease, and premature ageing.[1-5] Most people can prevent skin cancer by avoiding over exposure to the sun and other sources of ultraviolet light such as sunlamps and solaria. Precautions are especially important for children and teenagers , who spend more time outdoors than adults. In addition, evidence suggests sun exposure in childhood and adolescence contributes more to lifetime risk of skin cancer than a similar level of sun exposure in later life.
To reduce over exposure to ultraviolet radiation, precautions are required. The best advice is to look for or provide some form of shade, as it is an effective form of sun protection, and to always wear suitable clothing, hat, sunglasses and apply sunscree n to exposed skin when outdoors especially during summer.
ResultsGraphs for these indicators show sun protection behaviours last summer, frequency of sunburn last summer, and easy to find shade when outdoors in local area, for children aged 0-15 years by age group, sex, socioeconomic disadvantage, geographical locati on, and year. Results for these indicators include:
- Sun protection behaviours last summer: when out in the sun last summer, 37.4 per cent of children always or often sought shade, 55.9 per cent always or often wore a hat or cap, 12.1 per cent always or often wore sunglasse s, 69.8 per cent always or often wore a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more, and 54.8 per cent always or often wore protective clothing. Twelve per cent of children were never in the sun last summer.
- Frequency of sunburn last summer: 64.2 per cent of children did not get sunburnt last summer (79.0 per cent 0-8 years; 49.1 per cent 9-15 years; 65.8 per cent male; 62.4 per cent female; 68.1 per cent metropolitan; 55.8 p er cent rural-regional). There has been a significant increase in the proportion of children who did not get sunburnt last summer between 2003-2004 and 2009-2010 (57.2 per cent to 64.2 per cent).
- Easy to find shade when outdoors in local area: among those parents or carers who went out in their local area, 52.8 per cent found it easy to find shade in sporting areas, 68.7 per cent found it easy to find shade in pub lic pools, and 74.5 per cent found it easy to find shade in public parks.
- The Cancer Council NSW and Cancer Institute NSW. Reducing the impact of skin cancer in NSW: Strategic Plan 2007-2009. Sydney: The Cancer Council NSW and Cancer Institute NSW, 2007. Available online at www.cancercouncil.com.au/html/prevention/sunsm art/downloads/skincancer_strategicplan_NSW_2007_09.pdf (accessed 23 January 2012).
- Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. Solar UV radiation and the UV Index. Available online at www.arpansa.gov.au/radiationprotection/factsheets/is_UVIndex.cfm (accessed 23 January 2012).
- Greer FR. Defining vitamin D deficiency in children: Beyond 25-OH vitamin D serum concentrations. Pediatrics 2009; 124(5): 1471-3. Available online at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/5/1471.long (accessed 23 January 2012).
- Ness AR, Frankel SJ, Gunnell J, Smith DJ. Are we still dying for a tan? J Cosmet Dermatol 2002; 1(1): 43-6. Abstract available online at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17134451 (accessed 23 January 2012).
- NSW Department of Health. NSW Health Sun Protection fact sheet. Available online at www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/general/sun_protect.html (accessed 23 January 2012).
- Always or often took sun protection behaviours last summer
- Frequency of sunburn last summer
- Did not get sunburnt last summer by socioeconomic disadvantage
- Did not get sunburnt last summer by region and year
- Did not get sunburnt last summer by sex and year
- Easy to find shade when outdoors
|Source:||New South Wales Child Health Survey 2009-2010 (HOIST). NSW Ministry of Health.|
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|Last updated on:||1 February 2012|