Page 5 - CanTalk Issue 73 Autumn 2015
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CANTALK 73 AUTUMN 2015  CANCER SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND • Te Kāhui Matepukupuku o Aotearoa

who’ve passed through the House will all probably        Questions you have asked
agree that her legacy will be the warm and friendly
atmosphere she’s maintained throughout the years         Q: My family wants me to give up sugar–
and the well-run and beautifully kept home she’s         they say eating sugar ‘feeds’ the cancer.
established at Margaret Stewart House. Thank you         Could giving it up help?
Edwina. □ (Editor)
                                                         A: This is a question that we get asked very frequently.
SunSmart Schools Accreditation
Programme (SSAP)                                         Everybody wants to eat the right foods to help their
                                                         cancer treatment and recovery, and look for ways to do
The goal: Reduce the number of                           this. It is often suggested by friends and family to give
New Zealanders developing skin cancer.                   up a certain food or food group to help get rid of your
                                                         cancer. Sugar is often mentioned as the baddie that we
The need for a health promotion strategy for this        should totally banish from our diet, but is it really the
age group was globally recognised. And research          answer?
showed that a school-based intervention was an
effective strategy, identifying youth as an at-risk      All the cells in our body need energy/fuel to function
group.                                                   and grow. They get this from glucose (sugar) that
                                                         circulates around in our blood. We get this glucose from
SSAP is an internationally approved programme for        eating any kind of carbohydrates, which are broken
primary and intermediate schools, with criteria to be    down by our digestion and released into our blood. All
met. It was started as a national programme by the       carbohydrates give us glucose, so we get energy from
Cancer Society in 2005.                                  grains, pasta, vegetables, bread, beans, rice, fruit and
                                                         milk as well as from cake, sweets and chocolate. Once
The underlying goal is simple: To reduce skin cancer in  broken down and in the blood, there is no difference in
New Zealand.                                             the energy from the different foods.

The SSAP provides website access to information and      Cancer cells use glucose to function and grow too.
a database.                                              They are often reproducing faster than normal cells,
                                                         so use up a lot more glucose. But this does not mean
Currently, 35 percent of New Zealand schools are         that cutting out sugar will deprive the cancer of energy
accredited, with another 10 percent in the process of    and starve it–our bodies will maintain the glucose in the
becoming accredited.                                     blood because it’s needed by ALL our cells.

New curriculum resources were introduced in 2014.        While eating sugar does not specifically feed cancer,
They can be used in several subjects, otherwise known    eating healthily is still important. High-sugar foods often
as cross-curricula inquiry-based units. Educational      have limited other nutritional value apart from giving
professionals designed these units for Years 1-8. They   us energy. Fruit, vegetables, fibre, fish and white meat
are fully aligned to the NZ Curriculum and can be used   are recommended, with limited amounts of fat, salt, red
to assess the National Standards. □                      meat, processed meats, cakes, sweets and biscuits.

To download the PDFs visit                               For more information or any questions about diet and                       cancer, and the role of sugar, please phone the Cancer
                                                         Information Helpline on 0800 226 237 to talk to one of
To see the resources in action at Sylvia Park School     our experienced cancer nurses. □
                                                         Anna Sisely, Cancer Information Nurse,
                                                         Cancer Society, Wellington Division.

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