Balanced Lifestyle

A Balanced Lifestyle Linked to Your Cancer Risk

Afrikaanse Persverklaring

24 February 2017 – CANSA advocates living a balanced, healthy lifestyle. This can be achieved by making smart food choices, doing regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco and alcohol. A recent study (by the World Cancer Research Fund International) has confirmed the link between obesity and 11 cancers. These findings emphasise the huge role that obesity plays in increasing cancer risk. Nutrition, physical activity and body composition all play a central part in cancer risk reduction.

Eat Smart

“Maintaining a healthy weight, and watching your food (sugar, salt, alcohol, red meat, etc.) intake, is so important to your health. It is proven that obesity can cause disease, such as cancer,” says CANSA’s Clinical Health Specialist, Prof Michael Herbst.

Reading food labels can help ensure a healthier lifestyle. Food labels make one aware of portion sizes and kilojoules. It is important to be aware that “low-fat” or “non-fat” does not necessarily mean “low-kilojoule”. Look out for food products that carry a CANSA Smart Choice Seal of Recognition as this can assist in making an informed choice.

“Limiting red meat and processed meat (e.g. bacon, sausage, lunch meats and hot dogs) consumption is also important for a Balanced Lifestyle. Rather choose fish, poultry, beans, legumes and pulses instead of red meat. Eat at least five portions of seasonal fruits and vegetables daily, and drink plenty of clean, safe water” continues Herbst. Read more…

The use of tobacco products (including hubbly bubbly) is harmful to a person’s health and can lead to the causation of cancer and other health-related diseases. CANSA assists and encourages quitting tobacco use. Abstaining from alcohol can also assist in healthier living.

Knowing Sugar – CANSA and the Sugar Tax

CANSA encourages the public to lower their sugar intake. High sugar consumption elevates insulin levels, it increases kilojoule intake without any nutrient value, and indirectly increases cancer risk by promoting obesity. Major sources of added sugars (sugars and syrups that are added to food during processing and preparation) include soft drinks, cakes, biscuits, pies, fruit punch, dairy desserts, sweets and chocolates, and also some sport drinks.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sugar intake should not include more than 10% of a person’s daily energy requirements.

The problem of obesity has grown over the past 30 years in South Africa resulting in the country being ranked the most obese country in sub-Saharan Africa. CANSA, as part of the South African NCD Alliance, supports the indirect taxation on sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) with the aim of reducing their consumption as laid out in the recommendations of the Policy Paper. It has been proven in countries where sugar tax was introduced, that it led to the reduction in consumption of sugar beverages.

CANSA recently presented to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Proposed Sugar Tax, as part of civil society CANSA.

Be Pro-active

It is helpful to know ones family history and cancer risk. “Knowing your body, means you are able to recognise changes and unusual symptoms. This will help you to know when something strange is occurring in your body and when to seek professional medical help,” says Herbst.

It is important to do regular self-examination for breast / testicular cancers. CANSA Mobile Health Clinics and CANSA Care Centres also offer some cancer screening.

Contact the local CANSA Care Centre to see what screening is available.

In addition, it is also advised to go for regular check-ups and cancer screening tests at a medical practitioner.


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