Posted on | March 12, 2010 | 1 Comment
A Medical Expert Professor Graham Colditz has warned that AUSTRALIA could see the number of cancer cases double within 20 years if they don’t change poor lifestyle habits.
Presently 6500 cancer deaths a year (14% of men and 20% in women) were due to excess weight and obesity. “These cancer deaths could be avoided if we did not gain weight through our adult years,” Professor Colditz said.
In addition to weight and obesity, by leading lifestyles that contained excessive drinking, a poor diet, little exercise and smoking Australians are significantly increasing their chances of Cancer along with spikes in other weight-related conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke if something is not done immediately.
Professor Colditz has called for a holistic approach to the prevention of cancer and other diseases to flow through what people do at home, work, schools and adult education institutions, community groups, urban planning & design and finally the delivery of health services.
He said diet and exercise were not only crucial to cancer prevention but also to supporting treatment for cancer patients so an example of a more holistic approach would be to get oncologists to talk about these issues when treating patients.
“An oncologist is focused on the patient’s cancer but perhaps they need to look past the cancer to the whole person and discuss diet and exercise,” he said.
“Physical fitness and weight control helps reduce the reoccurrence of cancer and improve and extend survival rates too.”
Women could be told about the impact of diet and exercise when going for cancer screening such as mammograms while general practitioners should build lifestyle questions and advice into nearly every patient conversation.
Employers could do their bit by providing access to exercise during work hours even if that was just secure parking for cyclists or an office shower, demanding healthy snacks and drinks for vending machines and serving buy antibiotics without prescription healthy food and drink options at meetings.
Parent groups were already addressing access to health food in schools but more effort needed to be made.
Urban design also plays a role in creating opportunities for people to build more walking, cycling and even weight bearing exercise by carrying shopping into their daily lives.
Professor Colditz said solid gains had already been made in banning smoking from workplaces, hospitality venues, transport and many public spaces but it was time for more focus to be placed on healthy eating and exercise. He also added as a positive that more than 50% of cancers were preventable and with sustained changes in lifestyle that figure could increase.
Again – it’s important to note that managing your weight is a matter of health and not just vanity. You are what you eat – and you get what you eat. And it’s never to late to make improvements, SO START TODAY.