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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ ‘I love my healthy and active childhood’ ]

‘I love my healthy and active childhood’

NEARLY ONE in 10 Cypriot children is clinically obese. The alarming statistic not only exceeds international figures but also increases those children’s risk of developing cancer in later life.

According to the Association of Cancer Patients and Friends (PASYKAF), childhood obesity in Cyprus is on the increase, with nine per cent of children aged five to 17 diagnosed as clinically obese. World Health Organisation findings suggest two to three per cent of the same age group is clinically obese.

In line with this year’s International Union Against Cancer (UICC) issue, ‘I love my healthy and active childhood’, PASYKAF will try to encourage children to adopt a lifestyle based on healthy diet and physical activity.

The issue is part of the UICC five-year World Cancer Campaign, ‘Today’s children, tomorrow’s world’, which aims to raise awareness about cancer prevention through the choices we make.

Being overweight or obese has been shown to increase the risk of cancer among adults, said PASYKAF president, Dr Anna Achilleoudi.

The idea of this year’s issue is to encourage and educate parents, teachers, health professionals and local authorities on the importance of teaching children to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to become physically active, she said.

The campaign will include a series of presentations and lectures to children and parents at 60 primary schools across the island before the end of this school year.

Research had shown that there was a great deal of ignorance around the issue of obesity and its link to cancer, with four in 10 adults unaware of the association, said Achilleoudi.

Yet studies showed cancer prevention included limiting calorie dense foods with little nutritional value, avoiding high sugary drinks, eating at least five portions of a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole wheat, limiting the consumption of red meat and processed meats and cutting down on salt, she said.

“An active lifestyle helps reduce cancer risk in two ways. Physical exercise and activity alone helps reduce cancer risk, and physical exercise is the basic factor in maintaining a suitable body weight and reducing cancer risk,” she added.

Achilleoudi said the association hoped to inform and change the habits of children and their families, to improve dietary habits and to teach families to make suitable food choices, to encourage children and their families to take part in daily and systematic exercise and/or sport, to reduce the amount time spent watching TV, working on the computer, playing electronic games and to reverse today’s sedentary habits, and to give children enough information about their bodies so that they can identify any changes that should be brought to their parents’ or a doctor’s attention.

Last year’s World Cancer Campaign issue focused on giving children and young people a smoke-free environment, while 2010 will be dedicated to vaccinations against viruses that can cause cancer (HPV vaccines) and 2011 will teach children and teens to avoid excessive sun exposure.



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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