A study published on the British Medical Journal website suggest that following public health recommendation could reduce risk of bowel cancer by up to 23%. The study is not very specific as to causality, but at least supports the effectiveness of the public health goals.
The researchers created a healthy lifestyle index using internationally accepted public health recommendations from the World Health Organization, World Cancer Research Fund and the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations.
These included being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, having no more than seven drinks a week for women and 14 drinks a week for men, being non-smoker, having a waist circumference below 88 cm for women and 102 cm for men and consuming a healthy diet
If all participants had followed all five recommendations, then 23% of the bowel cancer cases could have been avoided.
The researchers conclude: “Our study reveals the useful public health message that even modest differences in lifestyle might have a substantial impact on colorectal cancer risk and emphasises the importance of continuing vigorous efforts to convince people to follow the lifestyle recommendations.”