Dr Giota Mitrou, Director of Research, World Cancer Research Fund
Every year The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) run a survey to find out what people in Britain know about cancer risk, from smoking to processed meat and inherited genes. This year’s survey asked over 2,000 people, and included an additional question, “Do you want to have a healthier diet than you currently do?” The results showed that older generations (55+), who are most at risk of cancer due to their age, were the least likely to want to have a healthier diet, despite cancer being linked to poor diets, overweight and obesity. They were also the least aware of the link between poor diet and cancer.
On the reverse side, and a bit of good news, is that young people (aged 18-24) were the most aware of the link between diet and cancer and were the most likely to want to have a healthier diet. Most people (77 %) said they wanted to be healthier and 66 per cent being aware of the link between a poor diet and cancer.
The survey also found that people in Scotland were the most aware of the link between poor diet and increased risk of cancer (68% compared to 62% of the UK population overall). Furthermore 65% of Scots said that they wanted to improve their diet.
This divergence in health awareness and attitudes across generations is important and means that there is still more to be done to help people make healthier choices. We call on governments around the world to make cancer prevention a priority by implementing evidence-informed policies that encourage a healthy diet and more physical activity. The WCRF NOURISHING database contains examples from all over the world where governments have already taken action to promote healthy diets to reduce overweight and obesity. It’s never too late to lower your risk of cancer, and there are small changes that people can make. Take the WCRF Cancer Health Check to see how you could start lowering your cancer risk today.