15 February 2016
This week is National Healthy Weight Week and Cancer Council SA is calling on South Australians to prioritise their health with data indicating a decrease in the perceived importance of being overweight as a risk factor for cancer.
The latest Health Omnibus Survey results indicate that approximately 57% of South Australians were found to be either overweight or obese in 2014, which was comparable to years 2010-13.
The perceived importance of being overweight as a risk factor for cancer decreased significantly from 61% in 2010 to 50% in 2014.
Cancer Council SA Chief Executive, Lincoln Size, said that being overweight or obese greatly increases the risk of developing certain types of cancer including bowel, breast and oesophagus.
“This week is National Healthy Weight Week and through healthy eating and being active, people can maintain a healthy body weight and reduce their risk of cancer,” Mr Size said.
“It is concerning that well over half the population in South Australia is considered either overweight or obese, and awareness of the link between being overweight and increasing your risk of cancer is not getting through.
“More South Australians need to develop healthy eating habits including eating more fruit and vegetables and reducing the consumption of discretionary food including sugar sweetened drinks.”
The data also indicated that just 8% of South Australians consumed the recommended 5 or more servings of vegetables per day, while 45% consumed the recommended 2 or more daily servings of fruit.
“Being physically active and maintaining a healthy body weight not only reduces cancer risk, but also benefits a range of other health problems, including heart disease and diabetes.
“Alcohol intake should also be limited as it contains a lot of kilojoules, and even at low intake, can still easily contribute to weight gain. There is a strong link between alcohol consumption and some cancers.”
Survey results also indicate that knowledge and awareness amongst the South Australian community of a number of important modifiable cancer risk factors (being overweight, drinking alcohol, lack of exercise, not eating enough vegetables or fruit) has continued to have lower levels of perceived importance compared to less influential non-modifiable factors (such as pollution).
Anyone wanting more information on weight management should visit www.cancersa.org.au.