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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 101, Issue 4, pp I14–I18 | Cite as

Sun Behaviour in Canadian Children: Results of the 2006 National Sun Survey

  • Erin C. Pichora
  • Loraine D. MarrettEmail author
Mixed Research

Abstract

Childhood sun exposure is a particularly important determinant of skin cancer, yet little data are available for children. This paper describes sun behaviour among Canadian children for the summer of 2006. As part of the Second National Sun Survey (NSS2), 1,437 parents reported on the time spent in the sun, and the frequency of sun protection behaviours and sunburning for one of their children aged 1 to 12 years. Analysis was carried out using complex survey procedures in SAS and STATA. The majority of children (94%) spend at least 30 minutes in the sun on a typical summer day; however, regular sun protection is only commonly reported for young children (1 to 5 years) and involves covering their heads and wearing sunscreen (85%). The frequency of other protective behaviours is much lower, and sun protection decreases with age. Older children are also twice as likely to spend extended time in the sun and to get a sunburn. Among older children, boys are more likely to cover their heads and girls are more likely to wear sunscreen. Regular sun protection among Canadian children is low, given their sun exposure. Heavy reliance on sunscreen is consistent with previous reports and indicates that other measures, such as seeking shade and wearing protective clothing, need to be promoted. Riskier sun behaviour among older children may reflect decreased parental control, as well as changing attitudes and peer pressure, and highlights the importance of adult role models and targeted interventions for this age group.

Key words

Child behaviour solar radiation exposure skin neoplasms 

Résumé

L’exposition au soleil durant l’enfance est un déterminant particulièrement important du cancer de la peau, mais on dispose de peu de données sur les enfants. Nous décrivons ici les comportements au soleil des enfants canadiens pendant l’été 2006. Dans le cadre de la Deuxième Enquête nationale sur l’exposition au soleil (EES2), 1 437 parents ont fourni des données sur le temps d’exposition au soleil, la fréquence des comportements de protection solaire et les coups de soleil pour un de leurs enfants âgé de 1 à 12 ans. Nous avons analysé ces données au moyen de méthodes d’enquête complexes avec les logiciels SAA et Stata. La grande majorité des enfants (94 %) passent au moins 30 minutes au soleil par une journée d’été typique; cependant, la protection solaire systématique ne semble concerner que les jeunes enfants (1 à 5 ans); elle consiste à se couvrir leur tête et à appliquer un écran solaire (85 %). La fréquence des autres comportements de protection est beaucoup plus faible, et l’utilisation d’une protection solaire diminue avec l’âge. Les enfants plus vieux sont aussi deux fois plus susceptibles de passer longtemps au soleil et de brûler. Chez les enfants plus vieux, les garçons sont plus susceptibles de se couvrir la tête, et les filles, d’appliquer un écran solaire. La protection solaire systématique chez les enfants canadiens est faible compte tenu de leur exposition au soleil. Le recours massif aux écrans solaires, également observé dans d’autres travaux de recherche, montre qu’il faut promouvoir les autres mesures, comme de rester à l’ombre et de porter des vêtements pour se protéger. La diminution des comportements de protection chez les enfants plus vieux pourrait s’expliquer par le moindre contrôle parental, les changements d’attitudes et la pression à l’uniformité, d’où l’importance d’avoir des modèles adultes à émuler et des interventions ciblées pour ce groupe d’âge.

Mots clés

comportement de l’enfant exposition au rayonnement solaire tumeurs de la peau 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Population Studies & SurveillanceCancer Care OntarioTorontoCanada

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