Bad habits formed during COVID-19 pandemic could increase cancer risk - Australian health officials

Working from home.
More than half of survey participants said they were more desk-bound. Photo credit: Newshub.

There are fears habits developed since the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to an increased risk of cancer, with a new survey suggesting working from home is leading to weight gain and less exercise.

According to the survey by the Cancer Institute of New South Wales in Australia, 34 percent of people said they were exercising less than since the pandemic began - with another 40 percent saying they had gained weight. 

More than half of the survey participants also said they were more desk-bound - largely due to working from home.

The survey found 32 percent were also consuming more food.

While there were some positive signs in the survey, with 39 percent saying they were consuming less fast-food, NSW chief cancer officer David Currow said people needed to be conscious of their lifestyle changes.  

Prof Currow said many people were unaware the amount of time spent sitting can increase cancer risk.

He said people needed to make sure they were taking opportunities to stand up and move about regularly.

"We have just been through a year of incredible uncertainty and change, and for many of us, the focus has just been getting through it.

"However, many of these changes, like more remote working, are likely to be more permanent.

"Given lifestyle behaviours account for one-in-three cancers, we want to make sure that changes made now don't lead to serious health issues for people in the future."