Cancer timebomb found in health checks in city

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More than a half of Derry’s adult population are overweight or obese, an alarming study by Action Cancer has found.

The research, based on the health promotions services offered on the Action Cancer Big Bus, showed that of the 430 local people who attended for standard health checks on board the bus, 60% were found to have a BMI (Body Mass Index) above the recommended level. And 44% were found to to have high blood pressure.

More than a quarter were found to have raised cholesterol levels.

The Action Cancer Big Bus also surveyed service users to find that, shockingly, 20% of Derry folk using the service admitted to doing no exercise at all while only 11% said they took the recommended amount of physical activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Only half said they ate the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day.

The findings, cancer experts have said, could lead to huge health problems for the city’s population in the future, with many people at risk of developing cancer.

The shock findings come as part of a Northern Ireland-wide evaluation of the first three years of the Big Bus’ health promotion strategy.

Senior Health Development Officer for Action Cancer Arlene Lusty commented on the results of the report: “We know that poor lifestyle choices result in ill-health and that too many people in Northern Ireland, for example, are overweight, which in turn can affect blood pressure and cholesterol levels and increase the risk of cancer.

“We also know this is often down to poor diet and lower than recommended levels of exercise.

“However, the results of the survey show truly shocking results in most of the areas that could lead to cancer in later life.

“The evaluation tells us that we need to continue health promotion work in tandem with early detection services, as we do on the Big Bus, to ensure that we educate people on healthier lifestyles, which will reduce this risk and ultimately save lives.”

The Action Cancer Big Bus also provides breast screening services for women aged 40-49 and over 70 to complement NHS provision.

The Why Weight service provides a full body composition analysis using the latest technology and offers weight loss guidance.

To date it has provided screening for around 9,000 people across the North.

To make a booking for the Big Bus to visit your community group or company contact Action Cancer on 028 9080 3344 or email bigbus@actioncancer.org