Sun Burn Incidence and Knowledge of Greek Elementary and High School Children about Sun Protection


Introduction: Overexposure to sun radiation and particularly its accumulation during childhood andadolescence is a significant risk factor for skin cancer development. The sun burn is particularly important. Aim:To estimate sun burn incidence in young pupils in a coastal area of Greece. Materials and
Methods: Two surveyswere conducted in a school population in the same district in Greece, over different periods of time, in youngpeople 9 to 18 years old (n=2 977). Anonymous questionnaires were completed. Levels of significance were twotailedand statistical significance was set at p=0.05. SPSS 17.0 software was used for statistical analysis.
Results:From the individual characteristics of the participants it was shown that the majority of them had dark hairand fair skin, whereas a significant percentage reported the existence of moles on face and their body (83.4% vs68.1%). The sun burn incidence was high in adolescents and the younger pupils (41.9% vs 55.6%). The youngeraged children who were living in an urban area had significantly higher rates of sun burn than those living insemi-urban areas (33.8% vs 24.8%, p=0.020). As far as the knowledge of pupils about the risks of sun radiationit was shown that the elementary school pupils had better knowledge than those at high school. Finally, thosewith better knowledge had the fewer sun burns (Mean 2.83 SD 0.87, p<0.001).
Conclusions: The contributionof knowledge to the decrease of sun burn incidence is important as long as this is continuous. Therefore, theeducation should concern not only children but also teachers and parents in the context of continuous andsystematic programs of health education.