According to the new president of the European Society for Paediatric Oncology, the current generation of children faces a far higher risk of cancer later in life due to their unhealthy habits. Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones said western countries should prepare for an “explosion” of weight-related cancers. And, she warns, the said governments should act now.
BBC News reports that Professor Pritchard-Jones, based at the Institute for Cancer Research in Sutton, Surrey, made her comments to mark World Cancer Day. She said that while children with poor lifestyles were no more likely to suffer from cancers in childhood, they were storing up trouble for later life. “Childhood is the time when the habits of a lifetime are established. If you want healthy adults you have to start by making healthy children.
“If we don’t do something about tackling how much exercise our young people take and how concerned they are about what they eat and their weight, we are going to have another explosion of cancers, to which unhealthy lifestyles will be a significant, contributory factor.”
She said that the western world had just started to make an impact on smoking-related cancer, but this would be cancelled out by the rise in obesity related illness.
At present, poor diets, lack of exercise, and people being overweight or obese accounts for approximately a third of cancers in western countries, and approximately a fifth in developing countries.
The International Obesity Taskforce estimates that one in ten school age children is overweight, and about 30 to 45 million worldwide are said to be obese.
Professor Pritchard-Jones called on families, health professionals, teachers and governments to do more. “I think World Cancer Day should make governments and the world’s policy makers take a look at what is happening in their own populations, and this may stimulate them into action.”
Tam Fry, from the Child Growth Foundation, said there had been “unacceptable” delay on the part of the UK government. He said: “This government has been putting off the day on which it is going to have to take on the food industry and say: ‘Enough is enough’.
“The cancer campaigners are right in saying that a whole generation is now at risk of being affected.”
Professor Alexander Eggermont, the president of the European cancer organization ECCO, said thfat the rise in obesity-related cancers was not as well-known as some of the other health effects. He told BBC News: “The focus on overweight and obesity is very important and timely. Making people aware of the dangers of smoking, as well as the dangers of unhealthy eating, should be part of all public awareness programs and national cancer plans.”
So, what can you do to protect your children from the threat of obesity? I have a number of resources that will help you and your family.
A great option is to order and read my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. You can order it here. You can also order an autographed and personalized copy here.
You can find a Family Assessment Tool here that will help you assess youryou’re your family’s diet, activity and rest habits (SuperSized Kids Quiz). Download and take the assessment to see how you and your family are doing.
In addition, I’ve designed an 8-Week Family Fitness Plan (SuperSized Kids 8-Week Plan) that you can find here.