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Conclusive evaluations for Sun education at school

Different protocols survey the tremendous involvement of teachers - and the impact of "Living With The Sun" on their pupils.

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From skin cancer to melanoma and cataract, the diseases linked to sun overexposure are a major health issue. That’s why, in 2005, WHO Collaborating Center Sécurité Solaire (Sun Safety) created Living with the Sun, a pluri-annual program for solar education in France.

Under the auspices of French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot and Education Minister Xavier Darcos, the program has expanded in schools. 12 000 primary school teachers have already run the program activities, which link sun safety tips with official school programs in France. An interdisciplinary program, Living with the Sun covers numerous sujbects, from science to language, geography or geometry.

For the teachers, a great involvement

The teachers’ opinion is surveyed online every year. Thousands of answers are gathered. With an 8-hour per year average dedicated to the program in classes, every indicators given by their answers are positive :

  • 100% of the teachers find the program « interesting on a personal level« 
  • 96% find it « easy to implement« 
  • More than 90% say the pupils « embrace » the program. For them, the kids’ behavior under the sun, their science knowledge and their citizenship « improves » thanks to Living with the Sun

For the pupils, a tremendous impact

The Biostatistic Unit of Languedoc-Roussillon’s Fight Againt Cancer Center and Epidaure, the Prevention Department of Research & Action in Montpellier both led an evaluation with 1500 pupils (cluster-randomizer trial). Between spring 2007 (before the activities were ran in class) to summer 2008, more than 500 of them replied to four back-to-back surveys.

Compared to the results gathered from children who didn’t follow the program, the conclusions brought by these evaluations are highly encouraging :

  • An statistics-proven improvement of the overall global knowledge of the Sun, its effects and the ways of protection. The pupils are more aware of risky situations – especially when their shadow is shorter under the Sun.
  • Behaviors under the Sun get better : the pupils don’t forget to wear a T-shirt anymore and look for shadow to protect themselves.

After being presented and discussed in numerous congresses in 2008 and 2009 (1), these results will be soon published in a science revue led by a editorial comitee.

More info

Bruno Pereira
bruno.pereira@valdorel.fnclcc.fr
Phone : 04 67 61 30 88

Press

Pierre Cesarini – La Sécurité Solaire General Manager
Phone : 01 42 58 00 60 – 06 03 06 6000

(1) IEA World Congress of Epidemiology – Brasil, UICC World Congress 2008 – Switzerland, Annual Conference of the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics

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