Sun-smart behaviour slipping
In the latest update from the Wellington Kids’Cam study – which aimed to see the world through the eyes of children – it seems Kiwis are slipping in their sun-smart behaviour.
The University of Otago study fitted cameras to 168 children in the Wellington region aged between 11 and 13, which recorded the children’s environment over four days. The data gathered included images of 2,635 children and adults in outdoor areas including beaches, playgrounds and outdoor pools.
In a new paper, published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal, the researchers found only 4.3 per cent of people wore sun-protective hats, and only 10.7 per cent were under shade at times when sun protection was warranted.
Lead author Ryan Gage told Newstalk ZB more people die from melanoma every year than in car accidents, with 90,000 annual diagnoses and 500 deaths from skin cancer - many of which are caused by overexposure to the sun.
Gage told Newshub New Zealand doesn’t have a sustained sun safety programme, “in contrast, in Australia, they have run a sustained programme over the last 30 years or so”.
“However, in New Zealand, we haven’t seen a campaign like that since about 2008.”
Cancer Society CEO Mike Kernaghan told Stuff the results were, unfortunately, unsurprising. “Apart from what [we’re] doing with programmes like SunSmart Schools, there’s little else in the way of sustained, national campaigns. Yet we have the highest rate of melanoma in the world.”
Christchurch group SkinCan announced this week it will provide free sunscreen dispensers at three sites across the city this summer, which they believe is the first time the approach has been tried in New Zealand.
More information about the study is on scimex.org.