For many, sun exposure is believed to be something to avoid at all costs. While there are a variety of health benefits gained from sun exposure, the risks of skin cancer, advanced aging and burns is a primary contributor to sun fearing habits.
Of course, those with a history of skin cancer or who experience a poor reaction to sun exposure must avoid the sun But what about the individuals who may be able to fit safe and sensible sun exposure into their daily routine yet continue to refrain? How could education affect this portion of the population?
A recent study explored the attitudes and beliefs of parents on sun exposure and UV protection in their young children. Researchers interviewed the parents of 22 United Kingdom children under the age of five to determine their understanding of sun protection and the motivating principles that drove their beliefs. Additionally, the skin types of the participants were classified based off of the Fitzpatrick skin type classification.
There were four overarching themes discovered during these interviews:
The researchers concluded:
“Parent’s in this qualitative research, regardless of children’s ethnicity, were found to be well equipped with knowledge of sun protection methods, and motivated to apply this knowledge in protecting their children. It identifies key areas of uncertainty such as vitamin D needs, sunscreen properties and the need for protection in the UK…”
The Vitamin D Council recognizes the importance of sun protection, especially in young children. This is why we continue to stress that moderation is key. In order to gain the full health benefits of sun exposure, including but not limited to vitamin D production, while avoiding the damaging effects of overexposure, education is key.
Though a small representation of participants, this study indicates some gaps in sun exposure education. Is this an area of health education promotion to target more heavily in the future? Let us know what you think at email@example.com.