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High School students graduating to be cancer and cardiovascular patients

Cancer Council Australia and the Heart Foundation say their national diet and physical activity survey of high school students should be a wake-up call for Australians. Professor Olver of the Cancer Council says "As obese kids move into adulthood the heightened risk of chronic diseases like cancer means previous gains in life expectancy may be reversed. We may see today’s teenagers die at a younger age than their parents’ generation for the first time in history".

National Heart Foundation of Australia CEO, Dr Lyn Roberts, said that all policy makers should be deeply disturbed by the findings.

A survey of 12,000 students in years 8 to 11 across 237 schools provides the first truly national sample for a physical activity survey of young Australians since 1985. Key findings include:

Professor Olver said the findings confirmed what health experts had been saying for years, that poor nutrition and inadequate exercise were contributing to an unprecedented number of overweight and obese adolescents and a "chronic disease time bomb".

A principal reason for the fall in physical activity by young people is that they cycle much less, an outcome of Australia's helmet laws.

Wed 9 Feb 2011

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