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Scottish Cancer Prevention Network | Putting Prevention First

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.

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

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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Man to Man : on weight loss

Most of us aren’t carrying excess weight through choice – but in the modern world of 24/7 food availability, oversized portions and an abundance of tasty, cheap treats, it’s become normal. Lots of us don’t really know what to do and how to go about it, yet with the right support and motivation men can, and do lose weight. Though us guys are less likely to diet than women, there’s good evidence to suggest that when we do set our minds to it, we’re more successful!

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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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Whether a #worksitewander or 5 minute stretch remember every little counts.

Having trained as physiotherapist, physical activity is always something I have been interested in. I enjoyed the challenge of working with people who had suffered illness or injury and using physical activity and structured exercise as a tool to improve both physical and mental health. We all know physical activity can reduce the risk of developing many conditions, including cancer, but something that is frequently not given adequate attention is the importance of physical activity in self-care and work-life balance. Continue reading “Whether a #worksitewander or 5 minute stretch remember every little counts.”

‘Living the message’ at WCRF International

At WCRF we fund research into cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity. We then turn this evidence into practical, straightforward advice and information to help anyone who wants to reduce their risk of developing cancer. But we don’t just talk the talk; we are encouraged to lead by example, especially when in the office.

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Can thinking differently about office cake improve workplace health and performance?

Ask people what they think about workplace cake and you discover it’s a contentious issue. My research surveyed nearly 1000 UK office workers (see previous SCPN blog) and found that office cake changed people’s eating behaviour and made workplaces less healthy (1-3).  But while 31% of respondents reported it led to weight gain and 37% said it made it hard to eat healthily at work, 81% said it brings people together and 83% said it cheers people up.  So how do we make sense of these opposing ideas? Is there a way to harness the morale-boosting capabilities while minimising the health consequences? I think so. But we need to think differently.

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Small Changes make BIG Impacts

I’m now over half a year into my first full time job and I’ve been thinking back to that very first day back in September when I was presented with an adjustable standing desk. I was rather shocked, this was not the office environment I had been expecting! Friends had told me about their workplace, sitting all day, cakes and biscuits galore, chip shop lunches and I thought that sounded great. So I was reluctant to fully embrace the idea of a ‘healthy worksite’ but my attitude quickly changed once I saw my step count was abysmally low!

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FIT – a little goes a long way

Faecal immunochemical tests for haemoglobin (FIT) are now used in asymptomatic bowel screening programmes and also in assessment of patients presenting with lower bowel symptoms.  FIT specimen collection devices have a stick attached to the cap of the tube: this stick has dimples or grooves near the end to collect the correct amount of faeces. Our instructions are simple, namely, “dip the end of the stick into your poo” and “scrape the end of the stick along the sample”, and have pictures of exactly what sample is required. However, many seem surprised at how little faeces is collected, only 2 mg in the FIT used in Scotland for both clinical purposes.  Interestingly, some assume that more must be better and do try very hard to give a little (or a lot) extra in the device!  To date, very little attention has been paid to this aspect of FIT.  Recently, however, a very relevant paper has been published.1

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