Sun protective behaviour and sunburn prevalence in primary and secondary schoolchildren in Western Switzerland


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A Master's thesis.
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Master (thesis) (master)
Sun protective behaviour and sunburn prevalence in primary and secondary schoolchildren in Western Switzerland
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine
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Background: Switzerland has one of the highest incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma, a potentially preventable cancer since its main risk factor, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, is amenable to behavioural changes. Although solar over-exposure during childhood and adolescence increase the risk of melanoma, determinants of sunburn and sun protective behaviours of Swiss children have scarcely been explored.
Objectives: To investigate sunburn occurrence and sun protective behaviours of schoolchildren in western Switzerland.
Methods: Self-reported questionnaires were administered during regular classes to pupils of the 5th (primary school, n=431), 8th and 11th grades (secondary school, n=837) in the 18 public schools of la Chaux-de-Fonds, western Switzerland, regarding their sunburn occurrence and sun-related behaviours. Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to assess predictors of sunburns and of three sun protective behaviours (sunscreen, shade, wear of covering clothes).
Results: Response rate was 91%. Sunburn prevalence over the preceding year was high (60% at least one sunburn, 30% at least two, 43% at least one painful or blistering sunburn). Younger age, fair skin, regular sunscreen use, higher sun-related knowledge and preference for a tanned skin were predictors of sunburn. Sunscreen was the most used protective measure (69%), followed by seeking shade (33%) and wearing long sleeves shirts (32%). Decline in all protective measures was observed in older and pro-tan attitudes pupils. The wear of covering clothes was significantly associated with sunscreen use and seeking shade. Parental encouragement favoured sunscreen use and wear of protective clothes.
Conclusion: In future sun protection campaigns targeting children and adolescents, sunscreen use as last protective barrier against UV radiation should be better emphasized. Multi-faceted interventions, including role models, parents and peers should help to improve children sun- protective behaviours.
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31/08/2016 14:33
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20/08/2019 16:55
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