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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Pupils' use of school outdoor play settings across seasons and its relation to sun exposure and physical activity

Pagels, Peter; Wester, Ulf; Martensson, Fredrika; Guban, Peter; Raustorp, Anders; Froberg, Andreas; Soderstrom, Margareta; Boldemann, Cecilia


Background Long outdoor stay may cause hazardous exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun even at high latitudes as in Sweden (Spring to Autumn). On the other hand, long outdoor stay is a strong predictor of primary school children ' s free mobility involving moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). UV-protective outdoor environments enable long outdoor stay. We investigated the concurrent impact of different school outdoor play settings upon pupils ' sun exposure and levels of physical activity across different ages, genders, and seasons.Method During 1 week each in September, March, and May, UVR exposure and MVPA were measured in pupils aged 7-11 years. Erythemally effective UVR exposure was measured by polysulphone film dosimeters and MVPA by accelerometers. Schoolyard play was recorded on maps, and used areas defined as four play settings (fixed play equipment, paved surfaces, sport fields, and green settings), categorized by season and gender.Results During the academic year, sport fields yielded the highest UVR exposures and generated most time in MVPA. In March, time outdoors and minutes in MVPA dropped and UVR exposures were suberythemal at all play settings. In May, green settings and fixed play equipment close to greenery promoted MVPA and protected from solar overexposure during long outdoor stays.Conclusion More outdoor activities in early spring are recommended. In May, greenery attractive for play could protect against overexposure to UVR and stimulate both girls and boys to vigorous play.


physical activity; play settings; pupils; sun exposure

Published in

Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine
2020, Volume: 36, number: 5, pages: 365-372
Publisher: WILEY

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
    Sport and Fitness Sciences

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