Sometimes I wonder how we get up in the mornings. This week the World Cancer Research Fund published the results of an authoritative study into the impact of diet, exercise and obesity and the causes of cancer. It is the fruit of five years of investigation, with input from over 200 scientists and specialists on the subject.
The outcome? Very little that we didn’t already know, quite honestly. We all know about the link between smoking and cancer, and the study didn’t even mention tobacco use – I suppose that’s just stating the obvious now. The weight of scientific opinion now backs the belief that changes to our eating and exercise habits can have as big an effect on the likelihood of developing cancer as ditching the Marlboro Lights. According to the study, we increase our cancer risk through:
- Gaining weight over the age of 21
- Not exercising regularly
- Consuming sugary drinks and eating fast food
- Not eating enough fruit and vegetables
- Excessive consumption of red meat
- Drinking more than an egg cup of alcohol every seven years
- Mowing the lawn
- Not breastfeeding (women only, I presume)
- Watching The X Factor
- High salt consumption
- Eating processed meats
Why don’t they just come out and say: being alive increases your risk of getting cancer?
I don’t even want to think about the number of times I have gone out, drank enough beer to drown a dog in, smoked a pack of cigarettes, got a doner kebab on the way home, slept, then had a bacon sandwich/fry-up for breakfast, washed down with sugary tea and a couple more fags for good measure, then gone out and done the same thing that night. In fact, that pretty much sums up my university days and most of my twenties. I dread to think what my liver and lungs look like and the same can be said of most people in my social circle and generation. In terms of hard living, I’m really quite middle of the road, yet based on all the evidence, I’m doomed. DOOMED! Think I might join a monastery for a life of simple purity.