Play in the Sun, Yes

Skin cancer concerns do not keep the kids from being outside

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Sunscreen? Yes indeed. SPF 15, 30, or 50? No worries. Parents are a-okay with their children playing in the sun.

Parents' concern about skin cancer doesn't make them keep their children indoors, a new study has found.

"Lather up with sunscreen."

The study, led by Alexander Tran, a summer fellow working with Lori Crane, PhD, CU Cancer Center investigator and chair of the Department of Community & Behavioral Health at the Colorado School of Public Health, looked at data from 999 children ages 8 and 9 who were part of the Colorado Kids Sun Care Program.

Researchers interviewed participants' parents over the phone about their concern for the skin cancer melanoma and how they protect their families from the sun.

Parents were also asked how many hours their children spend outside each day and their kids' physical activity levels.

Physical examinations of the children measured their body mass indices, or BMIs, as well as their freckling and chance of getting skin cancer.

The researchers found that as parents felt more concerned about non-melanoma cancer, outdoor physical activity increased 30 percent.

The hours of outdoor physical activity were not linked to parents' thoughts on melanoma or their ability to get the skin cancer.

They also found that BMI-for-age was not connected with how parents felt about the threat of skin cancer, how sun protection was used, or children's physical activity level.

The authors say that skin cancer prevention programs should continue to promote avoiding the sun at midday and getting sun protection during outdoor activities.

“Perhaps instead of higher melanoma concern leading to staying inside, it's the parents of kids who spend the most time outside who are most concerned about skin cancer,” Tran said in a press release.

"This is a good finding -- it suggests that children can get plenty of outdoor physical activity and prevent skin cancer by using good sun protection measures such as wearing a hat and shirt, and applying sunscreen."

Grants from the National Cancer Institute and a fellowship from the University of Colorado Cancer Center and the Cancer League of Colorado funded the study.

The study was published Aug. 9 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.
 

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Review Date: 
September 11, 2012
Last Updated:
September 11, 2012