208791 Evaluation of a Elementary School-Based Sun Safety Program

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Marc Katz, MPH , Hunterdon County Cancer Coalition, Hunterdon County Health Department, Flemington, NJ
Steven Godin, PhD, MPH , Community Health Education Program, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA
Alissa Fox, MD, FAAD , Fox Skin & Allergy Associates, Branchburg, NJ
Mary Vecchio, RN, MSN , Community Education and Outreach, Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center, Flemington, NJ
The Hunterdon Sun Safe Program was designed to provide children with sun safety health literacy and to establish sun safety policies within elementary schools. This program was adapted from the EPA Sunwise program and provided to children (ages 8 to 10) within five elementary schools in New Jersey. Children received an educational program on sun safety, and engaged in a poster contest applying the material. School staff modeled wearing bucket hats for the children during outside activities. At each school entrance, A-frame signs were used to post the daily UV index for children and school staff to view. Each day, schools were asked to announce the UV index forecast for the day. Pre-post assessments were conducted on 268 children to determine program efficacy towards improving sun safety health literacy given the UV index for the day. Significant chi-squares were noted on specific knowledge items measuring sun screen usage, understanding SPF ratings, risk perception for sunburns on cloudy days, and covering up behaviors. Children were also more likely to report wearing hats on sunny days at time of post-test. Overall, post-scores significantly improved 14% over the pre-scores on the sun safety knowledge (T= 11.8; p< 001). Approximately half the schools adhered to making daily announcements of the UV forecast. For all six schools, 72.3% of the children were able to correctly indicate the UV index for the day. Recommendations are made regarding methods for helping schools establish sun safety policies while using school staff as role models for sun safe behaviors.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to describe components of an effective sun safety health literacy program; To compare the Hunterdon Sun Safe Program to the national Sun Wise Program sponsored by the EPA; To discuss the importance of children understanding the UV index and engaging in appropriate sun safe behaviors.

Keywords: Child Health Promotion, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For the last 2.5 years, I have functioned as the Hunterdon County Cancer Coalition. I have provided sun safety programs in the schools for the last two years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.