A healthy diet falls under the spotlight this week as part of a new summer initiative that promotes healthy habits to make people aware of the link between bad habits and cancer.
Along with bad habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption or physical inactivity,1 an unhealthy diet has been strongly linked to a rise in cancer cases. Research commissioned by GE Healthcare, discovered that some adults unfortunately continue to remain unaware of the link between diet and cancer. Respondents from eight countries generally understood the relationship between bad habits and the possible risk of developing lung, liver and colon cancer.
However, the awareness of the link to breast cancer was relatively low: between 28% (in Germany) and 60% (in China). In comparison 91% of Germans and 95% of Chinese were well aware of the causes of lung cancer. The worldwide epidemic of diet-related illnesses has caused the World Health Organization (WHO) to issue guidelines that ensure individuals are following a healthy diet and are gaining the nutritional requirements the human body needs to function effectively.2
In a recent collaboration with the American Cancer Society (ACS), GE Healthcare also held an open webinar to discuss issues that were stopping people from making healthy lifestyle changes. The session recognized that obesity was a complex problem that required a broad range of effective approaches. The ACS called on guidelines that promoted community-action strategies that increase access to healthy food and provide safe, enjoyable, and accessible environments for physical activity.
According to the WHO, worldwide obesity has nearly doubled since 1980. In 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight. Of these over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese. 65% of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. While obesity is considered a risk factor for cancer, it is entirely preventable.3
The World Health Organization (WHO) believes this can be achieved by limiting consumption of saturated fats in preference to unsaturated fats with a long-term goal of eliminating trans-fatty acids from the diet. An increase in the consumption of fruits and vegetables, and legumes, whole grains and nuts, is encouraged and limiting the intake of free sugars and salt (sodium) from all sources. Where possible, salt should be iodized.3
One of the primary aims of this initiative is to get people to think about their normal behavior or routine, which almost always includes bad habits that are contributing to an unhealthy lifestyle. Sharing healthy Monday resolutions (#HealthAhead) aims to set up participants for a healthy start to the week with the intention of continuing this behavior for the rest of the week. The hope is new, healthier habits, can be formed that will benefit the individual in the long-term.
Next Monday’s topic will be Physical Exercise. Please share your healthy Monday resolutions on twitter using the ‘#HealthAhead’ hashtag.