Ham, Hot Dogs Raise Children's Cancer Risk
Parents who pack ham or salami sandwiches in their kids' lunch boxes may be raising their risk of cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund.
Convincing evidence shows that processed meats, which include not only ham and salami but also hot dogs and bacon, raise the risk of bowel cancer, the organization says.
Instead of processed meats, parents should choose low-fat cheese, poultry, fish, hummus, or small amounts of lean meat as sandwich fillings, according to experts at the organization.
In fact, they recommend that children not eat any processed meats because they help form unhealthy habits. Ham and salami sandwiches could give children habits that increase their risk of developing cancer late in life, they say.
"If children have processed meat in their lunch every day, then over the course of a school year, they will be eating quite a lot of it," said Marni Craze, children's education manager for the organization. "It is better if children learn to view processed meat as an occasional treat if it is eaten at all."
Ham and high-calorie snacks might seem like a convenient option, "particularly for parents who do not have a lot of time to prepare their child's lunchbox," Craze said. "But packed lunches are a part of a child's diet that is relatively easy to control and it does not have to take too much time or effort to prepare a healthy lunch.
"For example, putting some salad into a sandwich will count towards the five portions of fruits and vegetables children should be eating every day," she said. "And a small fruit juice instead of a fizzy drink will also give a portion. Also, chicken that has not been processed, fish, hummus or low-fat cheese are easy and quick alternatives."
The organization recommends limiting total meat intake to about 70 grams or the equivalent of three slices of bacon a week.
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