The impact of the kidskin sun protection intervention on summer suntan and reported sun exposure: Was it sustained?

Milne, E., Jacoby, P., Giles-Corti, B., Cross, D., Johnston, R., & English, D.R. (2006). The impact of the kidskin sun protection intervention on summer suntan and reported sun exposure: Was it sustained? Preventive Medicine, 42, 14-20.

Background. Recognition that early sun exposure is an important risk factor for cutaneous melanoma in white populations has led to efforts to reduce children’s sun exposure. FKidskin_ was a non-randomized, school-based sun protection intervention trial in Perth, Western Australia (1995–1999). Its aim was to determine the extent to which such a program could reduce children’s sun exposure. 

Methods. Kidskin involved 1614 children assigned to one of three groups: a Control, a FModerate_ and a FHigh_ intervention group of 14, 11 and 8 schools respectively. The unit of assignment was the school. Control schools received the standard health education curriculum, while intervention schools received a multi-component intervention including a specially designed curriculum. The High intervention group received additional components. Outcomes included parent reported sun-related behaviors and objectively measured suntan at the end of summer vacation. These outcomes were observed every 2 years. Statistical analyses allowed for correlations between students within schools. 

Results. Kidskin initially had favorable effects on reported sun exposure and measured suntan. However, at the end of the 4-year program, and again 2 years later, little evidence of a favorable effect remained. 

Conclusions. The benefits of childhood sun protection interventions may not last beyond the life of the program. 

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