Most people are unaware of the cancer benefits of golf

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 20, 2018 15:44

A new study has found that while most people are aware that the walking that comes from regularly playing golf is good for the heart, very few understand that this also helps protect against some cancers.

Researchers from Washington University in the USA found that nearly two-thirds of US adults are aware that inadequate levels of physical exercise increased the risk of cardiovascular (63.5 per cent) and metabolic (65.8 per cent) problems. However, just 3.4 per cent of respondents associated it with increased risk of cancer.

In fact there is a link between insufficient level of exercise and certain types of cancer such as colon and breast.

Published in the Journal of Health Communication, researchers surveyed a socio-demographically diverse sample of 1,161 US participants. The researchers’ goal was to identify what types of diseases lay audiences believed are caused by insufficient levels of exercise.

They then randomly selected 351 participants and examined their answer to an open-ended question asking what illnesses are caused by insufficient physical activity.

The authors suggest that the lack of public knowledge linking low levels of exercise some types of cancers is due to the focus public health campaigns have on communicating how it is beneficial for ‘heart health’ and weight loss, and therefore failing to include the other health benefits.

For public audiences to better understand the risks associated with insufficient levels of exercise, the researchers propose that the first step would be to raise awareness by making these more of the focus of public health campaigns.

It is possible that golf clubs and golfing organisations could take a lead in these marketing campaigns.

The authors report that the public may have little intention to change their behaviour because they do not realise that it is problematic in the first place.

Erika Waters, lead author of the study and associate professor of surgery at Washington University commented: “People might be more likely to exercise if they understand just how important physical activity is to their overall health – not just their heart health.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 20, 2018 15:44
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