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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Britain gets a lesson in health from Bogata

24th June 2009

Professor Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific adviser at the World Cancer Research Fund, suggests that making UK towns and cities more like the Colombian capital Bogota would help prevent cancer.


Every Sunday and public holiday in Bogota over 120km of streets are closed to motor vehicles from 7am to 2pm and are used for walking, skating and cycling.

While making the city a nicer place, it highlights one of the challenges we face with people are becoming less active.

Surveys may show that half of us do not know it, but being physically active reduces the risk of cancer.

This decline in physical activity levels is one of the reasons scientists are projecting a doubling in global cancer rates over the next 40 years.

To address this doesn’t mean we should all join a gym but we should make smaller change to our routines to include walking or cycling rather than driving.

But it is no good recommending more cycling if the places people live seem too dangerous to cycle safely.

That is why we in the UK need to become a bit more like Bogota.

The World Cancer Research Fund wants to see widespread safe walking and cycling routes throughout the country and in fairness the UK is not doing too bad.

But further improvements are needed and while it may cost money, making these changes would help prevent many thousands of cases of cancer and in becoming more like Bogota it could avoid the UK sleepwalking its way towards a public health catastrophe.


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