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Only Half of 18-24s Understand Being Overweight Increases Cancer Risk

Fifty percent of 18-24-year-olds are aware that being overweight is linked to an increased risk of cancer, according to a new YouGov poll commissioned by World Cancer Research Fund. With 28% of 16-24s currently living with overweight or obesity, the charity is highlighting the link between weight and cancer.   

Other findings showed that only 47% of Brits know that being physically inactive increases cancer risk. To reduce your risk of developing cancer, World Cancer Research Fund recommends being physically active in everyday life and sitting less.

Overall, the majority of respondents answered that smoking (86%) and genes (76%) increase cancer risk. While it is correct that genes are a risk factor, less than one in ten cancer cases are due to inherited genes; although some cancers have a stronger genetic link than others.

Only 3 in 5 (59%) are aware that having an unhealthy diet and cancer are linked, and from those that answered, 18-24s and over 55s are the least aware (56%).

To support people, including young people, to adopt healthy habits to reduce their cancer risk, World Cancer Research Fund’s 8-week interactive programme, Activ8, will be running all year round, and people can join at any time. From making healthier food and drink choices to being more active in different ways, the programme is designed to be as easy and inspiring as possible while still fitting into people’s busy schedules.

Rachael Gormley, Chief Executive Officer at World Cancer Research Fund, said: “It’s striking to see that 18-24s are the least aware of the link between being overweight and cancer. It highlights how important education among young people is when it comes to cancer awareness and prevention.  

Now, more than ever we also need to make the world around us healthier for future generations. Governments across the UK can play a vital role by implementing measures including a ban on multi-buy price promotions on junk food (foods high in fat, salt and sugar), such as buy-one-get-one-free offers.”

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