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A healthy childhood can reduce cancer risk

Wednesday 4 February, 2009

This World Cancer Day, families are being urged to promote healthy active lifestyles for their children, as overweight and obesity during childhood can lead to chronic diseases later in life such as type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

According to Cancer Council Victoria, about one third of Australia's cancer deaths are related to unhealthy lifestyles including poor eating and exercise habits.

Diet and physical activity are second only to tobacco as a preventable cause of cancer.

Cancer Council Director and President of the International Union Against Cancer Professor David Hill is urging parents to support and encourage their children to maintain a healthy weight with regular exercise and healthy eating at home and at school.

"World Cancer Day brings awareness to important lifestyle behaviours that need to be developed during childhood. Research shows 25 to 50 per cent of obese children carry the weight with them into adulthood, " said Professor Hill.

Kids - ‘Go for your life' manager Dr Suzy Honisett believes we must act now as Australia has one of the world's highest rates of obese and overweight children.

"A great way to ensure your child's healthy lifestyle habits are maintained away from home, is to encourage your child's primary school or early childhood service to sign up to the Kids - ‘Go for your life' Award Program," said Dr Honisett.

"The Award Program recognises primary schools and early childhood services that create environments for children to enjoy healthy eating and active play every day," said Dr Honisett.

Membership for the Award Program is FREE and over 1500 Victorian primary schools and early childhood services are involved.

The Kids - ‘Go for your life' Award Program provides a comprehensive, yet simple guide for schools and early childhood centres, on how to create a healthier environment for children by promoting six healthy messages - Tap into Water, Plant Fruit and Veg in Your Lunchbox, Limit ‘Sometimes' Foods, Move, Play and Go, Turn Off, Switch to Play and Stride and Ride.

Kids - ‘Go for your life' is managed by Diabetes Australia - Vic and Cancer Council Victoria, and funded by the Victorian Government.

For more information on Kids - ‘Go for your life' call 1300 739 899 or visit

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