Diet and exercise reduce cancer

Over 40% of bowel and breast cancer cases in the UK would be prevented by healthy diet, physical activity and weight maintenance, according to a landmark report that sets out recommendations for policies to reduce the global number of cancer cases. The report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention, published by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), estimates that about 43% of bowel cancer cases and 42% of breast cancer cases in the UK could be prevented in this way. As part of the evidence-based report, thought to be the most comprehensive ever published on the subject, two independent teams of scientists looked systematically at the evidence for how policy changes and interventions influence the behaviours that affect cancer risk. Following this, a panel of 23 experts made 48 recommendations for different groups (government, industry, media, schools etc.) to follow. Among the recommendations are that schools should actively encourage physical activity and provide healthy food for children; schools, workplaces and institutions should not have unhealthy foods available in vending machines; governments should encourage widespread walking and cycling routes to encourage physical activity; governments should incorporate UN recommendations on breastfeeding into law; the food and drinks industry should make public health an explicit priority at all stages of production; people should use independent nutrition guides and food labels to make sure the food they buy is healthy. (World Cancer Research Fund. Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention, 26 February 2009.


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