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  • Health & Medicine

Birmingham babes are lighting up

The Cancer Research UK logo
by Cancer Research UK | News

13 August 2002

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Birmingham’s under 10’s show a shocking disregard for their health with two thirds admitting to smoking – according to a Cancer Research UK survey1.

Two thirds of the children quizzed said they never covered up in the sun and the same proportion of girls claimed they rarely ate vegetables. The majority of girls and boys didn’t worry about their future health.

But the good news is that by the time the children become teenagers some have modified their bad habits. Figures for smoking among 13-16 year-olds dropped to one-third and half said they ate vegetables every day.

Well over half the teenagers worried about their future health and three quarters of them would change their habits to reduce the risk of illness in adulthood.

The children answered questions on science, health and lifestyle habits at the Tomorrow’s World roadshow in Birmingham where they were entertained by a travelling pop band, created by Cancer Research UK.

The all-singing, all-dancing band performed a music spectacular designed to inform teenagers about science and cancer.

The band has been performing with the help of an interactive space capsule and science information robot to help put across the charity’s message: to overcome cancer through education, fundraising, recruitment, lifestyle and research.

By stimulating children’s interest in science the charity is hoping that more youngsters will be inspired to take up a career working in the fight against cancer.

Half the Birmingham children aged 10-16 said they were excited by science. But fewer than 10 per cent of the boys and only 12 per cent of the girls wanted to be a doctor or nurse.

The most popular career choice for all girls in that age group was to be a pop star. For boys aged 10-12 the most popular job was a sportsperson but computer expert topped the choice for teenage boys closely followed by pop star.

Dr Lesley Walker, Director of Information at Cancer Research UK, says: “We know that children aged 11 to 16 are actively making decisions that will influence their future health.

“It’s crucial that Cancer Research UK gets in early to inform these kids and encourages them to form healthy habits for life. Using a pop band to get this message across is a fantastic idea.

“It’s very easy to presume that we know how kids feel. We believe that we have a lot to learn about children’s attitudes and their aspirations for the future and the more we understand, the easier it will be for us to help.”



  1. More than 500 people took part in the survey