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Health and Human Development - Low fibre intake
Low fibre intake
Colorectal cancer, age standardised incidence and mortality rates, with
projections, by sex, 1983 to 1999.
Constipation, diverticular disease, haemorrhoids, possible link to cancer
of the colon.
* results from a diet which is low in plant foods. When intake of dietary
fibre is high it adds bulk to the contents of the colon and holds water so
that waste products from digestion remain soft and pass quickly out of the
body. When the fibre content is low, less bulk is present and the water
content is low, requiring more muscular effort to push the wastes through
the colon. This increased pressure can lead to stretching of the muscular
walls of the colon. If pouches form in the walls, some of the waste
products can be cut off from the main passageway. Eventually, the pouches
will become inflamed and cause discomfort.
* rates as the second most commmon cancer among the Australian
population. The incidence of the cancer increases with age and it is rarely
seen in people under the age of 40 years. Bowel polyps can be detected by
testing. Families where there is a history of colorectal cancer are advised
to have regular checks for the presence of polyps. Apart form the genetic
predisposition, other causes of colorectal cancer appear to be diet
related. There is much evidence to suggest a diet high in plant materials
and low in meat and other animal products protect against this cancer.
Phytochemicals  obviously play an important part in protecting against
Figure N. 9. Colorectal cancer, age standarised incidence and mortality
rates, with projections, by sex 1983 to 1999
Australia's Health, 1998 Australian Bureau of Statistics
Increase the intake of fruits, vegetables, especially legumes, wholegrain
bread and cereals. Decease the intake of processed foods.
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