Cancer charity encourages Brits to boot up for Christmas walk

  • 7 in 10 Brits (73%) want to be more active to reduce their risk of cancer
  • 7 in 10 Brits (70%) want to eat more fruit and vegetables to reduce their risk
  • 1 in 2 (50%) say that they would drink fewer sugary drinks

14 December 2023

This festive season, leading cancer prevention charity World Cancer Research Fund is encouraging people to boot up and go for a walk after their Christmas meal. This is to highlight that being physically active can help protect against certain cancers – a YouGov poll commissioned by the charity shows that more than 7 in 10 Brits (73%) want to be more active to reduce their risk of cancer.

The poll asked what Brits would do to reduce their cancer risk: 68% said they would do more moderate-intensity physical activity, while 24% said they were likely to do more vigorous-intensity activity.

Being physically active, which includes brisk walking, has many health benefits including helping protect us against cancers of the colon, breast and womb. It can also, alongside a healthy diet, help us manage our weight. Living with overweight or obesity increases the risk of at least 13 cancers.

Protect your mental health, too

Other benefits of being physically active include improved mental health, mood and sleep. When it comes to being active, people should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week. World Cancer Research Fund has lot of tips on how people can become more active.

The poll also found that 70% were more likely to eat more fruit and vegetables to reduce their risk, and half said that they would drink fewer sugary drinks. 63% of 18–24s said they would likely eat less overly processed food high in fat, salt, and sugar to reduce their cancer risk, compared to 58% of over 55s.

As well as encouraging people to walk after their Christmas lunch, the charity has created delicious Christmas recipes that won’t leave people feeling overly full. A diet rich in fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses not only helps to ensure you get your 5 A DAY but can also help reduce the risk of cancer.

Matt Lambert, a fitness expert and Health Information and Promotion manager at World Cancer Research Fund, said:

We’re really encouraged to see that people are willing to be more active so this Christmas we want to help them put this into action, by calling on all Brits to stretch their legs after their Christmas lunch.

Not only can daily activity such as walking help reduce people’s risk of certain cancers, but it can also help with digestion after lunch. Why not go before you have your dessert? It’ll help you pace yourself and beat the winter darkness.

Jan Hartnett, 61, from Surrey, said:

As a family we always go out for a walk after our Christmas meal, it’s become a little tradition of ours. It’s a great way to be together and get all the generations, old and young off the sofa and out and about.

For those who enjoy their walking, why not sign up to Walk 100 and get a head start on any new year’s resolutions?


For more information and media enquiries contact: Melanie Marks Purnode, Editor & PR Support Consultant at

Notes to editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size for the results was 2,092 adults.

The surveys were carried out online 28–29 June 2023. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all British adults (aged 18+).

About World Cancer Research Fund

World Cancer Research Fund examines how diet, nutrition, body weight and physical activity affect your risk of developing and surviving cancer. As part of an international network of charities, we have been funding life-saving research, influencing global public health policy, and educating the public since 1982. While society continues searching for a cure, our prevention and survival work is helping people live longer, happier, healthier lives – free from the devastating effects of cancer. and Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.

Preventing cancer. Saving lives