A recent evaluation study conducted by Action Cancer has found that primary school children in North Antrim have a better understanding of how to be safe in the sun after taking part in the charity’s health promotion sessions.
Before the talks by Action Cancer health promotion staff, which are part of the charity’s Health Action programme for schools sponsored by retailer Centra, half of 7-11 year olds understood that having tan means your skin is damaged, increasing to 81% afterwards.
When asked before the sessions just over half knew that wearing sun screen in Northern Ireland was a good idea and afterwards this increased to almost 90%.
The evaluation of the Health Action sessions was conducted using a simple questionnaire and involved more than 1,200 children at seventy-one schools across Northern Ireland, including a number in North Antrim.
Action Cancer Health Promotion Officer Catherine Foreman said; “Hundreds of thousands of children have taken part in the Health Action programme over the years and our aim is to impart crucial health information that will help them avoid cancer in later life.
“We believe the evaluation proves that the sessions are successful in improving children’s understanding of healthy behaviours and in the case of the sun safety results this should lead to children adopting healthier habits in the sun, reducing their risk of skin cancer.”
Action Cancer’s unique curriculum-focussed Health Action programme delivers health promotion sessions, centred around cancer prevention and early detection, to more than 30,000 young people every year. For nursery and younger primary schoolchildren the sessions take the form of a puppet show, demonstrating the importance of healthy eating, exercise, being safe in the sun and the dangers of smoking and alcohol. For 7-11 year olds Action Cancer staff give a 2 week set of talks with similar messages.
The award-winning Health Action programme is supported by Centra retailers across the province, who have raised more than £700,000 to fund the project over the past nine years. Since the partnership between Action Cancer and Centra was launched in 2003, 420,000 young people have taken part in Health Action sessions.
Jennifer Morton from Centra added; “The evaluation tells us that educating young people about healthy lifestyles is vital for cancer prevention. This is why local Centra retailers have supported Action Cancer’s work in schools over the long-term, to have the greatest impact on the health of children, now and in the future.”
To book a Health Action sessions for your school contact Action Cancer on 028 9080 3344 or visit www.actioncancer.org