Lowering school uniform hemlines could help protect children from skin cancer.
A James Cook University study of 100 schools in north Queensland has found lengthening uniforms to the knees and elbows, or wearing loose-fitting clothing, increases sun protection by more than nine per cent.
And while teen fashionistas are unlikely to endorse a longer hemline, it's likely kids won't feel any hotter, with a previous study of Queensland outdoor workers showing body and skin temperatures hardly varied between those wearing long pants and those wearing shorts.
The Cancer Council has welcomed the study which found sun protection greatly varied from school-to-school.
Smaller, rural and educationally disadvantaged schools generally had the least protection.
Study supervisor, Dr Simone Harrison said she hoped the research would influence Australian and New Zealand sun protective clothing standards, which are being reviewed.
"The majority of school pupils in this high-risk region for skin cancer wore school uniforms that only covered a small proportion of the upper arm and thighs," she said.
"It doesn't require a re-design of the uniform, just small alterations or choosing loose-fitting garments, so it's a big gain for a little effort.
Queensland has the highest instances of skin cancer in the world, with 3000 melanomas diagnosed across the state each year.
One school in north Queensland has re-designed next year's uniforms in line with Dr Harrison's recommendations.
She is also trialling a comprehensive sun protection program intervention program in Townsville schools, including a rating system for SunSmart schools.