On Tuesday 5th July, Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for the City of Durham, met with Nikki McCann, the Ambassador for Cancer Research UK in Parliament to discuss Cancer Research UK’s work in funding research, preventing and controlling various forms of cancer and finding cures.
Cancer Research’s latest campaign is focusing on the damaging effects of obesity and the links between being overweight and the chances of developing cancer.
After smoking, obesity is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer and is linked to more than 18,000 cases each year.
Currently 6 in 10 people in the UK are obese or overweight though this figure is higher in County Durham standing at 7 in 10. 1 in 3 children leave primary school overweight or obese though again in County Durham the number stands higher at 36.5%. These statistics demonstrate that this is a national issue which requires immediate action.
The aim of Cancer Research UK’s campaign is to decrease these numbers and stop preventable cancers by tackling unhealthy eating habits in childhood. Evidence shows that people who are obese or overweight as a child are more likely to continue to be so as an adult, increasing their risk of developing cancer.
The Government is planning to release a Childhood Obesity Strategy which will outline how they plan to tackle children’s obesity. As part of this strategy we want to see restrictions on junk food adverts on TV between 7 – 9pm in order to prevent children being exposed to unhealthy food marketing that influences their eating habits. Research suggests children who see junk food advertising on TV are more likely to eat more unhealthy food. According to Nikki McCann, Cancer Research UK’s Ambassador, “Many children do understand what is healthy and not healthy. It's the impact of junk food advertising that is driving their choices”.
Roberta has pledged her support for the campaign along with many other MPs. You too can help get involved and help stop preventable cases of cancer. To do this we need you to ask your MP to write to the Minister for Public Health in support of removing TV junk food advertising before 9pm.
Roberta said “It was very enlightening to see how lesser known causes of cancer, such as obesity, are being tackled by Cancer Research UK. The link between obesity and cancer is unquestionable therefore this campaign is of huge importance. Obesity, including in children, must be directly addressed as confronting this issue has multiple benefits and could stop one of the biggest killers of our generation. I thank Cancer Research UK for inviting me to their Parliamentary Day and I fully pledge my support for their campaign.”