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Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First

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European Code Against Cancer

Thinking Scottish – thinking alcohol

Alcohol consumption as a cause of cancer is clear. SHAAP present some stark figures in their latest update on alcohol and cancer with some good guidance on how health professionals can raise this topic in conversation. There is no one single way to decrease alcohol intake… Raising awareness, education and advice can be helpful – we all have a role to play. 

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Scotland – land of the generous (pro)portions

Hospitality doesn’t have to mean being over generous. Encouraging over eating is unkind to the 65% of adults in Scotland who live with excess body fat … many of whom face a daily struggle to walk away from large portions, alluring promotions and every day, every place offerings of calorie dense foods. Being overweight and obesity increases risk for 13 cancer types and yet all around there are superb attempts to get us to eat more and more.

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#EatingOutWithKids – babies and toddlers

Feeding babies and toddlers matters! Breast feeding for the first six months of life (and beyond!) is important for cancer risk reduction. All foods and drinks consumed will impact on healthy growth in infancy and future disease risk throughout childhood and beyond. But, even the most diligent parent, carers and grandparents will be challenged to feed little ones well when eating out and about …and that included babies and toddlers. This guest blog from Dr Helen Crawley (First Steps Nutrition) is the final in our series on eating out with children (see others: from a granny, a mother and a father)  and reminds us that challenges with the catering environment start young.

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#EatingOutWithKids – A Father’s perspective

I ordered a kids sandwich for my two year old in a well known Northumbrian cafe last month and this is what arrived.

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#EatingOutWithKids – A Mother's perspective

Eating out was once a special treat – but in today’s busy society we find ourselves consuming food away from home more often. With evidence showing that eating at food outlets, leisure places and “on the go” are associated with less healthy food choices than eating at home – how as parents do we tackle the diverse landscape of children’s food? [1]

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Snacking – for and against

By Dr Anna Gryka-MacPhail, Policy Officer, Obesity Action Scotland

Snacks vs. healthy snacks

Some people when asked what a snack is would point to crisps, biscuits, pastries or chocolate bars. Such products are heavy on calories but poor in important nutrients and were named ‘discretionary’ by Food Standards Scotland. We consume up to a fifth of energy from these products. This, together with the fact that on average we eat excess of 200-300 kcal every day, suggests a simple action: #sackthesnack. A 2015 survey found that more than half of the people would prefer to cut down on snacks.

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Should we call a spade a shovel? Polite names for Junk Foods and other extra calorie sources

Last week we launched our social media campaign called #sackthesnack inviting readers to take the challenge of swopping one daily snack for alternative behaviours like taking 200 steps, doing a little #kettlecise stretching or maybe even standing and moving to take a short phone call. The rationale for focussing on snacks was because snacks like biscuits, cakes, pastries, crisps and sugary drinks provide a fifth of our calories and cutting even one of these snacks in our daily life (and burning a few calories extra) might help us on the way to re-balancing our energy intake.

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Take the challenge – #sackthesnack

Once upon a time a snack was a treat, an extra or a present. As a child I eagerly awaited the arrival of the 6.40pm bus on a Thursday which delivered Auntie Mary with her bag containing the Bunty comic and a small tube of smarties (“for my wee snack”). The conditions of use were that sweeties had be shared with my big sister and all adults offered one (they could choose their colour). As a rural living 8 year old this visit was the highlight of my week. 

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Men’s Health – #Aboutabike

This month we have been highlighting mens health as part of #MensHealthMonth. MHM includes supporting men to increase or maintain physical activity levels depending on current activity levels (often tricky in older years as knee and join pain become more apparent!). Cycling has the potential to help many people achieve suggested physical activity goals, especially if incorporated into everyday life. However, not everyone can cycle sufficient distances due to poor physical fitness, long commuting distance and steep Scottish hills! Electric bikes (e-bikes) can make cycling more accessible to the wider population providing uphill and long distance assistance. Of course, some people will believe that e-cycling does not constitute exercise due to the assistance given by the bike, BUT continual pedalling is still required before assistance from the bike kicks in. Furthermore, a recent systematic review reports e-bikes provide moderate intensity physical activity for both physically active and inactive individuals [1]. 

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