Public Health

This section describes public health outcomes of Eurosun project.

As with the pattern of holidays, the time spent outdoors varies significantly from one country to another; hence, any primary prevention message developed to reduce UV exposure has to be adapted for each country. We provide the following recommendations:

-      Usual prevention messages developed in Europe are often limited to exposure at the beach. Our results show that a high proportion of exposure, in particular in  central European countries (Estonia and Hungary), occurs in places not targeted by prevention messages. This type of exposure may occur in private and public recreational areas (gardens and parks), and in occupational settings. For those countries with populations experiencing few periods of holiday, prevention messages should focus on this type of exposure.

-      In northern European countries, such as Norway and Estonia, where the time spent outdoors at the place of residence is relatively high, prevention messages should also target the exposures described previously. This is especially important as our atlas of UV irradiation showed that in spring and early summer, when such exposure results from behaviours including gardening and visiting parks, intense UV irradiation similar to that of southern Europe was recorded.

-      In countries for which a high proportion of the population take holidays abroad, possibly being exposed to high levels of UV, prevention messages could be developed in partnership with travel agencies. This was a success in Denmark from the Danish Cancer Institute; during the traditional period of foreign holiday travels, specific advertisements for UV prevention were displayed on the media (flyers, websites, etc.) of travel agencies.

-      Despite foreign holidays for the French and Italians being relatively low, southern European countries tend to receive a large number of tourists from their northern counterparts. These tourists often have fair skin and a willingness to spend time outdoors, but for these individuals, no (or at best, limited) prevention messages are available in southern European countries. We believe that sun exposure prevention messages could be developed in southern European countries during the holiday period to target the northern European population.