Study shows a lack of care and preventative measures taken at a majority of schools
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/04/2012 -- A new study has prompted citizens to urge the Government to ensure child safety by making sure kids are sun-safe.
A study run by Otago University tracked a dozen criteria for sun protection at over 180 primary schools from 2005 to 2009.
Sun protective clothing educate was the weakest of all the preventative actions. Only 43% of schools made note of the importance by 2009. Quality shade supplied by the school was also a lacking sun-safety emphasis. A mere 52% achieved the mark for proper amounts of shade on their grounds.
Not surprisingly, the study concluded that schools must up their sun protection policies. The noted needs for serious change were the aforementioned clothing and shade, as well as general education on the matter of sun protection and damage.
Associate Professor Tony Reeder, director of Otago University’s Cancer Society Social behavioral Research Unit, authored the study and has now asserted that the Government must step up their efforts in the matter.
Reeder notes that sun protection is a major safety issue, and exposure in the early years can influence potential for melanoma skin cancer.
"Yet, as we note in our study, it has become largely the responsibility of a charity, the Cancer Society of New Zealand, to introduce and sustain health promotion efforts in this area."
Dr. Reeder noted that schools who worked with Cancer Society staff had a change for the better. "We question though whether it should be a non-governmental group's role to shoulder the burden of achieving and sustaining universal uptake of SunSmart practices across all state and state-integrated primary schools," he said.
"We believe public agencies such as the Ministries of Education, Education Review Office and the Ministry of Health need to start taking a similar level of responsibility for sun protection as they do for other health and safety issues in schools."
Schools in Auckland and Northland had the smallest marked improvement on average. Waikato/Bay of Plenty showed the greatest improvement.
“Play in the Shade” was the greatest improvement, upping from 76% to 90% of schools. Sunscreen implementation rose from 66% to 80%. The use of hates raised 61% to 74%
The study found that of 189 schools, only 56 had applied SunSmart accreditation. Of the 133 negligent schools, 61% stated the need for more information, 30% cited resourcing needs to bolster encouragement.
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