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An Evaluation of Interventions Designed to Reduce Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure

Topics: Contaminants and Hazards, Physical Agents, Radiation

Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight is the main risk factor for the development of skin cancer. This risk factor can be greatly reduced by following responsible sun protection measures and avoiding artificial ultraviolet radiation. This review was conducted to assess the evidence behind interventions aimed at reducing ultraviolet radiation exposure.

A literature search was conducted using several online databases. The items retrieved included a systematic review and primary intervention studies. To be included in the review, the studies had to focus on interventions and their effect on human exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Several inclusion criteria were identified. Any papers which did not meet the criteria with certainty were assessed by a second reviewer. All studies related to ultraviolet radiation interventions were compiled into Appendix A.

A recent systematic review, identified in the literature search, included 74 studies that targeted specific settings. Seven additional studies were identified during the literature review for this report. The studies were grouped by intervention settings. The target settings included primary schools, secondary schools and colleges, childcare, outdoor occupational settings, healthcare systems, and recreational/tourism settings.

One additional study was found in this literature review which evaluated interventions in primary schools. The results of this study, along with those of the systematic review, suggested that educational interventions directed at primary school-age children are effective at increasing covering up behaviour in children. Covering up behaviour included wearing hats, pants, or long-sleeved shirts.

There were too few studies with consistent evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions in childcare, outdoor occupational, secondary schools and colleges, healthcare systems, and recreational/tourism settings. Although there have been many intervention studies conducted in these settings, the lack of standardization in intervention content and implementation, as well as variation in outcome measurements, make reaching a conclusion on intervention effectiveness difficult.

Four additional studies were found which evaluated appearance-focused interventions targeting the sun protection behaviours of college-age students. The results of these studies indicate that appearance-focused interventions may be more effective than health-focused interventions in this age group. This is a new area of research and at this point, evidence is insufficient to make recommendations regarding the effectiveness of appearance-focused interventions in college students.

Based on the available evidence, educational type in terventions directly targeting primary schools are effective strategies for decreasing ultraviolet radiation exposure in children. These educational interventions included a wide range of activities such as didactic classroom teachings, didactic teaching using sunscreen samples, interactive and home-based activities, health fairs, educational picture books, teaching by medical students, interactive CD-ROM multimedia programs, and peer education.

An Evaluation of Interventions Designed to Reduce Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure

Publication DateApr 09, 2008
Posted by NCCEHApr 10, 2008