Maintaining a healthy body weight
We know that by maintaining a healthy body weight, being physically active every day and enjoying a healthy diet, you can lower your risk of developing cancer. We know that these factors account for at least 30 per cent of all cancers.
If you are overweight or obese you may be eating more than you need for your level of activity. Being overweight or obese also increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, gout, impaired fertility, lower back pain, osteoarthritis and many other conditions.
Body mass index (BMI)
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of your weight for height. It is not always easy to know if you are overweight. To find out if you are overweight or obese use the BMI calculator below or take a simple waist measurement.
After working out your BMI, use the following table to determine your body weight range.
|18.5 - 24.9||Healthy Weight Range|
|25 - 29.9||Overweight|
|Over 30||Obese - If you have a BMI of 25 or more, it is time to take action for better health and reduce your risk of cancer.|
You can use your waist circumference to measure risks to your health. To find your waist circumference, measure around the narrowest point between your ribs and your hips. Once you have measured your waist circumference, use the following table to determine to what extent your size is placing your health at risk.
|Level of risk||Male||Female|
|Not at risk||Less than 94cm||Less than 80cm
|Increased risk||94cm or higher||80cm or higher|
|Substantially increased risk||102cm or higher||88cm or higher|
Fat carried around the abdomen and waist is a greater health risk than fat carried on the hips and thighs for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and postmenopausal breast cancer.
What should I do?
To maintain a healthy weight, enjoy regular physical activity and eat according to your needs. Make fruit, vegetables, cereals and other low fat foods the basis of your diet.
Losing weight to reach a healthy weight for your height isn't easy, however any weight loss will be beneficial. Remember that popular weight loss diets generally don't work in the long-term. It is better to make small changes to your diet and physical activity habits that you can maintain for a lifetime. Plan to:
- Make it a priority not to gain more weight.
- Reduce your weight by 5 to 10 per cent if you are overweight or obese. Aim to lose 1 to 4kg per month.
- Cut back on foods and drinks high in fats and sugars and snack on vegies and fruit.
- Avoid fried foods.
- Choose non fat or reduced fat milk and dairy products.
- Increase your physical activity.
For information about your weight, speak to your doctor or call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.
The information available on this page should not be used as a substitute for advice from a properly qualified medical professional who can advise you about your own individual medical needs. It is not intended to constitute medical advice and is provided for general information purposes only. See our Disclaimer.