Teacher: Mr. Healy
Year 12 Health Education
Sun Safety Action Report
Introduction Australia has long been known as the Sun country. From glistening, bronzed bodies lining our beaches, to the Sunday afternoon shirtless-cricket rituals – one thing is for sure; Australians love the sun. However, with Skin Cancer diagnoses in South-East Queensland alone rising by 50% over the last 20 years; it seems Australians have become more than a humble, sun-kissed nation. The foundations of Australian life have no doubt been built around enjoying the outdoors; through aspects such as family and social gatherings, sporting and recreation, working labour and even schools. Sun Safety has undeniably increased, as awareness about Skin cancer and other sun-related issues has grown, however the overriding attitude towards skin cancer is still rather relaxed; with most Aussies seeing it as the ‘easily-fix’ cancer. It is clear both in Australian society, and specifically within Mansfield High, that our nation still has more work to do in terms of improving attitudes regarding the sun’s effects, and means of protection from it. That is why it is vital that the effort to integrate the ritual of sun-safety into all areas of Australian life is continued, especially in organisations such as schools- where the lifestyle choices of the next generations are being formed. This report focuses specifically on students at Mansfield High, where most students are between 12 and 18. This is possibly one of the most important groups to educate thoroughly on sun safety, as research shows that ‘unprotected exposure to the sun up to the age of roughly 15 years, can more than double your risk of developing skin cancer later in life’ (Australian Government Dept. Health and Ageing, 2008).
Goals & Objectives In accordance with the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion; for any campaign or health policy to be effective, Supportive Environments should be created (Appendix 1). In the context of improving Sun-Safety (through promotion) at Mansfield, the aim is for the campaign to be cohesive with the lifestyle habits, cultures, and goals of the community. The report aims to assess what factors affect the current choices of Mansfield students to be Sun Safe, and question how things could be changed to enable students to want to protect themselves from the sun whilst at school. This information can hopefully then be combined with examination of current, and previous campaigns to educate students on how the sun can affect their lives, and what they can do to control it. In designing a campaign specialised for adolescents, it is vital to consider the mental and physical changes which affect the mindset and choices of the students. That is why this sun safe promotion aims to consider the importance of self-image to teenagers, by reversing stereotypes surrounding sun safety, and changing the idea that sun protection has to look a certain way. The campaign aims to advocate sunscreen as the focus; because it does not alter the appearance, as it is basically invisible.
Project Description & Justification In planning this campaign, the main objective was to understand how students at Mansfield spent their time in the sun, and what could be done to educate about, and enforce sun-safety measures without interrupting the normal ‘flow’ of student life. One of the major influencing factors in making the campaign was finding the balance between providing adequate sun protection, and appealing to the image conscious side that teenagers are often experiencing during this time. This is shown by Mission Australia’s National Youth Survey of Young Australians, asking what most concerned them, with 25.5 % responding with ‘Body Image’ (Mission, 2012). To get a good understanding of the opinions and habits of students; a survey was conducted from selection of students from grade 8-12, (Appendix 2) which helped to model the