Welsh adults are the least aware in Britain that physical inactivity (44% aware), drinking alcohol (52% aware), eating a poor diet (59% aware) and being overweight (51% aware) increase the risk of cancer, when comparing England, Scotland and Wales, a poll for World Cancer Research Fund has found.
The YouGov poll found that over half of Welsh adults (56%) are not aware that physical inactivity increases the risk of cancer, nearly half are not aware of the cancer risk attached to being overweight (49%) or drinking alcohol (48%) and around 40% are not aware that eating a poor diet (41%) also increases the risk of cancer.
The figures were described by the World Cancer Research Fund as ‘alarming’, given these factors increase the risk of developing 13 common cancers. The charity estimates that about a third of the most common cancers could be prevented through choosing a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a health body weight – about 84,000 cases a year in the UK.
The charity has launched a campaign, ‘I CAN’, to improve these low levels of awareness and encourage people to take action. The campaign will help people to stick to healthy New Year’s resolutions that could reduce their cancer risks. People can sign up to receive email tips on weight, diet, alcohol and physical activity by visiting www.wcrf.org/ICAN.
Amanda McLean, Director at World Cancer Research Fund UK, said:
“It is worrying that so many people in Wales are still not aware that being overweight, being physically inactive, drinking alcohol and eating a poor diet all increase the risk of developing cancer.
“Our research has shown, for example, that about 24,000 cancer cases in the UK could be avoided if everyone was a healthy weight. This New Year we hope people will get behind our campaign, ‘I CAN’, and make small changes to their lifestyles – they could make a huge difference to their health.
“It doesn’t have to be anything too difficult – cutting down on high calorie foods and sugary drinks, drinking less alcohol, or even 10 to 15 extra minutes each day of physical activities such as brisk walking could all decrease a person’s cancer risk.”
Regionally, the poll showed that adults in Yorkshire and the Humber are the least aware of the link between physical inactivity and the risk of cancer (59% not aware compared to a national average of 54%) and adults in the West Midlands are the least aware that drinking alcohol (54% not aware compared to a national average of 43%) increases the risk of developing cancer. Adults in the East of England are the least aware of the risk factor of eating a poor diet (47% not aware compared to a national average of 40%).
About World Cancer Research Fund
For the past 25 years, World Cancer Research Fund has been the UK’s leading charity dedicated to the
prevention of cancer through diet, weight and physical activity. By funding and supporting research, developing policy recommendations and providing of developing a preventable cancer. As we look forward to our next 25 years, our scientific research ensures that we will continue to have the latest and most authoritative information at our fingertips, all underpinned by independent expert advice.
Our analysis of global research shows that a third of the most common cancers are preventable through a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular physical activity.
For more information visit www.wcrf-uk.org, follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wcrf_uk, read our blog at www.cancer-prevention.org or visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/wcrfuk.