Background Childhood exposure to ultraviolet light increases the skin of skin cancer including melanoma.
Aim The aim of this study was to describe the sun-related knowledge and attitudes of primary schoolchildren in an urban area of Greece.
Methods A randomly selected sample of 2163 students (8–12 years old) from primary schools in an urban area of Greece was surveyed regarding their sun-related, knowledge and attitudes. SPSS 17.0 software was used for analysis with an alpha level set at p≤0.05.
Results 72% oh the children were living in coastal urban aereas and 15.8% didn’t have Greek citizenship. General knowledge level of the students was satisfactory, 3.0 (±0.9), but only a small percentage (27.1%) knew about efficient sun protection factor. Approximately 50% of children reported that they wore a hat and 72% used sunscreen to prevent themselves from getting sunburnt. Children who lived near the sea had a better behaviour to sun protection activities but older students had worse attitudes than elder ones and they had more sunburns too. Also, Greek children had better attitudes against other ethnicities. 31% of the pupils referred at least one sunburn at the last summer. In correlations, girls have more careful behaviour from boys and those children who do not used frequently sunscreen reported sunburn more often.
Conclusions Pupils of all ages need encouragement to protect their skin, to use sunscreens correctly and be aware of alternative sun-protection methods. Future health education needs to make pupils, parents and school staff aware sun exposure is not innocent.