Bad habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption or physical inactivity* have often been blamed for a rise in cancer cases. Lifestyle choices made around unhealthy eating, drinking and being physically inactive are fueling the cancer toll that threatens to increase than decrease for the next generation.
Every Monday, The Pulse kicks-off a new summer initiative that promotes healthy habits to make people aware of the link between bad habits and cancer. The initiative, also informs participants of the benefits of regular physical activity and the maintenance of a healthy body weight, along with a healthy diet, to help reduce cancer risk. Reduction or even abstention of alcohol and tobacco consumption is also mentioned as a key action in achieving better health. The initiative will also provide information on forming healthy habits at work, the role of screening programs and skin care.
A change of habits and long-held beliefs about a certain lifestyle can be difficult to modify. Often well-meaning intentions to change one’s life for the better are only carried out for the short-term as individuals begin to realize the motivation needed for long-term changes requires more effort.
One mistake individuals practice when trying to change for the better include, relying on will power for long-term change. While will power is required, it is unrealistic to assume this can be kept up in the over a longer period of time.
During a recent Google Hangout with the American Cancer Society (ACS) on ‘Barriers to Healthy habits,’ the question of what was stopping people from making healthy lifestyle changes was raised. One response was from The National Breast Cancer Foundation (@NBCF) who stated that: ‘The experts on @GEHealthcare’s G+ Hangout share that “small changes make big impacts” when it comes to healthy habits.
One of the highlights of the Hangout was the comment from one of the panelists, Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, Director, Nutrition and Physical Activity, American Cancer Society. She commented on the actions an individual could take in changing their lifestyle for the better.
“Look around your office, if you don’t have healthy foods available speak up about this. All of us can absolutely make changes in our workplaces by using our voices. Same thing in our neighborhoods, having access to affordable healthy foods, or safe areas for your kids to play. All of these things are things that we should be speaking up about and advocating more for.”
Another highlight was the point made by S. Carter Steger, Senior Director for State and Local Campaigns, for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), who believed that despite the good work done to reduce obesity rates, much more could be done in the meantime.
“We need to make sure that lawmakers need to understand that even though we may be leveling off current obesity rates, the job isn’t done. We still need to make personal as well as policy changes so we don’t see the obesity rates rise again.
Keep an eye out for regular updates every Monday and commit the summer to changing your lifestyle and share your healthy Monday resolutions on twitter using the ‘#HealthAhead’ hashtag. To get a taster of what the initiative is trying to achieve, watch the video below of a recent Google Hangout session that discusses the barriers people face when trying to form new healthier habits.