New evidence confirms that the increasing global trend of unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles is responsible for putting millions at an unnecessarily high risk of cancer.
Estimates by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) Global Network suggest that across a range of countries, making lifestyle changes including maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and taking regular physical activity can reduce the risk of common cancers by up to a third.
These findings are further supported by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. This landmark report reinforces that regular physical activity has the potential to prevent many diseases such as breast and colon cancers, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. The report addresses three age groups (5-17 years old, 18-64 years old, and 65 years old and above) and provides concrete recommendations for levels of physical activity needed for health; these recommendations are especially helpful for low- and middle-income countries such as South Africa, where few national guidelines for physical activity exist.
Importance of exercise
“Physical activity is recommended for people of all ages as a means to reduce risks for certain types of cancers and other non-communicable diseases,” said Dr Tim Armstrong, from WHO’s Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion. “In order to improve their health and prevent several diseases, adults should do at least 150 minutes moderate physical activity throughout the week. This can be achieved by simply walking 30 minutes five times per week or by cycling to work daily”.
There is also consistent evidence that other healthy living initiatives are vital in reducing the risk of cancer including stopping tobacco use, avoiding exposure to passive smoke, avoiding excessive sun exposure and protecting against cancer-causing infections.
Support cancer via social media
Show your support for World Cancer Day this Saturday (4 February) by ‘lighting’ your Facebook and/or Twitter profile photo blue and orange.
This initiative runs alongside the American Cancer Society’s event on Friday evening (February 3), when they will light up the Empire State Building in New York City with blue and orange to support World Cancer Day.
Source: UICC Press Relations