Towards SunSmart school policies in South Africa

Caradee Y. Wright, Anthony J. Mundackal, Maria A. Oosthuizen, Patricia N. Albers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Solar ultraviolet radiation exposure is the major cause of cancers of the skin and cataracts of the eyes. Skin cancer rates in South Africa, particularly among white individuals, are among the highest in the world. Moreover, recent data have raised new concerns about increasing non-melanoma skin cancer incidence among black South Africans who are HIV positive. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in South Africa. Prevention of these adverse health effects requires an appropriate behavioural response in the form of sun protection. Sunscreen, clothing, hats, umbrellas and shade structures offer varying degrees of photoprotection against excess personal solar ultraviolet radiation exposure. Schools have an important part to play in supporting children to make healthy sun choices. The International Community Preventive Services Task Force released a statement that supported 'strong evidence' for the effectiveness of interventions in primary schools aimed at the prevention of skin cancer that combine education and policy approaches to increase preventive behaviours, specifically, child sun protective practices that reduce sunburn incidence and new melanocytic mole development.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalSouth African Journal of Science
Issue number9/10
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Policy
  • school
  • Sun protection
  • School children
  • public health


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