Cancer Council Australia
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Body weight



Since the 1980s there has been a steady increase in the number of Australians who are classed as overweight or obese. At least 63% of adults and 23% of children are now considered overweight or obese.

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing certain types of cancer, including common forms such as bowel and (post-menopausal) breast cancer, as well as cancers of the endometrium, kidney and oesophagus. Three per cent of cancer deaths are attributed to having a Body Mass Index over 25.

The Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a measurement used to assess people’s body weight – a score over 25 is classed as overweight and a score over 30 is obese.

The fact sheet maintain a healthy weight describes how to calculate your own BMI.

Waist circumference is another way to measure body weight. Men should aim for a waist circumference below 94cm. Women should aim for a waist circumference below 80cm.

To maintain a healthy body weight, eat a balanced diet that only contains as much energy (kilojoules or calories) as you use each day.

If your BMI is above 25, you should also try to increase your level of physical activity while maintaining or reducing your food intake, particularly foods that are high in sugar and fat.


This page was last updated on: Wednesday, April 16, 2014