Unfit Australians contributing to cancer burden

Physical Activity - running

More than half of Australian adults are inactive or participate in low levels of physical activity, contributing significantly to the burden of bowel, uterine and breast cancer.

A new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, Impact of physical inactivity as a risk factor for chronic conditions, showed that physical inactivity was responsible for 16 per cent of the bowel cancer burden, 16 per cent of the uterine cancer burden and 11 per cent of the breast cancer burden in Australia.

If adults undertook an additional 15 minutes of brisk walking, five days a week, the overall disease burden to physical activity could be decreased by an estimated 13 per cent.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan urged Queenslanders to step up their physical activity for better health ahead of summer.

“Around 56 per cent of Australian adults are not meeting the current Australian physical activity guidelines,” Ms McMillan said.

“Being inactive can have serious implications on an individual’s health, increasing their risk of chronic diseases, including bowel, uterine and breast cancer.

“For optimum health, physical activity guidelines recommend that adults aim for at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity activity every day.”

In Queensland alone more than 3090 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year, 3340 with breast cancer and 440 with uterine cancer.

Ms McMillan said one third of all cancer cases were preventable through healthy lifestyle choices.

“Being active, eating healthily, staying SunSmart, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol play a vital role in reducing the risk of cancers,” Ms McMillan said.

“As we head in to summer and the holiday season we are urging all Queenslanders to get active and prioritise their health and wellbeing.

“Taking up running, joining a gym or a fitness class, or even making an effort to walk further each day can all make a difference.

“More than 27,000 Queenslanders are diagnosed with cancer each year – it’s within our power to reduce that number through healthy lifestyle choices.”

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Laura McKoy,
Media Manager,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5345
Mobile: 0409 001 171