We’ve moved the dial on alcohol. We’ve moved the dial on tobacco. But on food we’ve hardly moved
Chronic disease plagues Australia. Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are some of the leading causes of death. One of the best ways to protect against women diagnosed with cancer is to change the way we eat. Here are five cancer-prevention tips:
1. Limit meat
Processed and red meat increases your risk for various cancers, so it’s best to limit your intake. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting red meat to 455 grams (about 16 ounces) per week and processed meat to 455 grams per week.
2. Eat more plant-based foods
Plant-based foods are packed with cancer-fighting nutrients. Fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
3. Limit alcohol
Drinking alcohol increases your risk for cancer, so it’s best to limit your intake. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than two standard drinks per day.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese increases your risk for cancer, so it’s important to maintain a healthy weight. The best way to do this is to eat a healthy diet and be physically active.
5. Don’t smoke
Smoking is one of the leading causes of cancer, so it’s important to quit if you smoke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
In Australia, healthy eating habits are on the decline, with children in particular consuming more unhealthy foods and drinks. A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) found that in the last five years, the number of Australians aged two and over who are obese or overweight has increased from 61.3% to 62.5%. This is despite the fact that the Australian government has introduced a number of initiatives to encourage healthy eating, such as the Healthy Eating Pyramid and the National Healthy School Canteens Guidelines.
The AIHW report found that the prevalence of obesity was highest among those aged 65 and over (37.7%), followed by those aged 55-64 (34.3%) and those aged 45-54 (32.3%). Among children aged 5-17, the prevalence of obesity was 20.4%. These figures are alarming, and suggest that Australia is not doing enough to promote healthy eating habits.
There are a number of reasons why Australia is struggling to promote healthy eating. Firstly, our culture is generally quite unhealthy, with a focus on fast food and convenience meals. This is especially true for children, who are often bombarded with advertising for unhealthy foods and drinks. Secondly, there is a lack of accessible, affordable healthy food options, especially in disadvantaged areas. And finally, there is a lack of education about healthy eating, both in schools and in the wider community.
If Australia is to improve its woeful record on healthy eating, we need to take radical action. This means making healthy food more affordable and accessible, and providing more education about nutrition and healthy eating habits. only then will we see a significant improvement in the nation’s health.