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Exposed children, protected parents; shade in playgrounds as a previously unstudied intervention field of cancer prevention

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For children, playgrounds represent a central place for physical activity and social interaction. However, at the playground, children are often exposed to sunlight. It is therefore surprising that sun exposure and shade levels at children’s playgrounds have, to date, received very little attention internationally. The ‘PlaSMa’ study presented here addresses this gap in the research, analyzing the percentage of shaded areas compared with the total playground area and the main play area for children in 144 playgrounds in the German city of Mannheim. In addition to this hierarchical linear modeling was used to investigate various social contexts. It was found that, on average, 41% of the total playground area was shaded, while only 22% of the main play area for children was in the shade. Consequently, in many cases, children play in direct sunlight, while parents and caregivers sit in the shade. These results were found to be independent of social area characteristics.
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Keywords: Health; cancer prevention; child health; environmental impact; environmental justice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany

Publication date: January 2, 2020

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