Get Fit – Global Twitter Competition to Fight Cancer

Last summer, I wrote this story for GE Healthy Outlook about a global twitter competition to fight cancer.

Harnessing the power of social media to improve health. 

We all know someone who has been affected by cancer, yet the World Health Organization states that more than 30% of cancer could be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors. Research confirms that a healthy diet and regular exercise can help reduce the risk of developing cancer. So what can we do to best protect our health?

GE Healthcare is launching Get Fit, a global Twitter competition that encourages people to make positive changes for their health. John Dineen, CEO of GE Healthcare says “And while “Get Fit” is a friendly competition, there is a serious message behind it — we believe that combining a healthy lifestyle with earlier detection of cancer through the development of technology breakthroughs will make a real impact on a person’s likelihood of developing cancer.”

From June 1st until July 31st, competitors from around the world can tweet in any language, using a country specific #GetFit hashtag, together with a message about how they have improved their diet or exercise habits. As participants tweet about their healthy activities, cells hovering over the continents will change color from ‘risky red’ to ‘healthy green’.

The winning continent will be the first to turn its cells green, or the continent that has progressed furthest down the color spectrum on the map. At the end of the competition, an open vote will be held to determine which country on the winning continent will receive a $20,000 donation to the Red Cross or Red Crescent Society operating in that country.

Watch the competition unfold, as progress by continent is mapped online on the Get Fit web page. Need some ideas to get started? Here are The Top 10 Ways to Stay Healthy:

1. Get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, three times a week. Physical inactivity is a key risk factor for cancer. Try something new or go for a walk with a friend.

2. Try to maintain a healthy weight – being overweight is a substantial risk factor for uterine, breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.

3. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet – try to eat 5 or more everyday.

4. Wear sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for sun protection.

5. Get screened for early detection. Visit your doctor to find out what is recommended for you, whether it’s a mammogram, colonoscopy, and/or cardiac screening including blood pressure and cholesterol.

6. Know your family’s health history and discuss it with your doctor.

7. Don’t smoke! Smoking is the number one preventable risk factor for lung cancer and heart disease.

8. Drink responsibly. Regular alcohol consumption increases the risk of getting mouth, voice box, and throat cancers.

9. Pass on the salt. Studies have shown that certain salted, pickled, or smoked foods can increase the chances of stomach cancer.

10. Find ways to better cope with stress. A stressful life can lead to unhealthy habits; so try to find positive ways to cope with stress, like taking a long walk, or hitting the gym for a yoga class.

CONNECT THE DOTS

Find full contest rules on the Get Fit web page.  Catch up with GE Healthcare’s Newsroom for the latest news in health innovation. Visit Healthymagination mobile apps to find free tools that can help you take control of your personal health. Learn more about GE’s online campaign to increase awareness about the early detection of breast cancer.

Originally published on GE Healthy Outlook, June 1, 2011. Copyright Jane Langille.

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