Unhealthy weight and cancer risk – not to be taken ‘lightly’

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Cancer Council Queensland has launched a new webpage to help increase awareness amongst Queenslanders of the link between being above a healthy weight and 13 types of cancer.

If you weren’t aware of this link, you’re not alone. Research shows that just under half (40%) of Australians are aware of the obesity-cancer risk link, compared to 98-99 per cent of Australians being aware of the obesity-diabetes/cardiovascular disease link.

Cancer Council Queensland’s ‘Maintain a healthy weight’ webpage contains information about the types of cancer linked to overweight and obesity, how being above a healthy weight can increase the risk of cancer and includes a BMI calculator and tips to calculate waist circumference.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan encouraged Queenslanders to take steps to reduce their risk of lifestyle-related cancers.

“Every year in Australia, about 3900 cancer cases are attributed to unhealthy weight gain,” Ms McMillan said.

“We’ve created this dedicated web page as it’s important for the public to know how their lifestyle choices affect their cancer risk.

“A simple and easy way of checking if you’re within a healthy weight range is by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI) and measuring your waist circumference, which you can do by visiting the Maintain a healthy weight page on the Cancer Council Queensland website.


“Your BMI classification lets you know how your weight is compared to your height, and your waist circumference is an indicator of how much weight you hold around your abdomen, which can impact your risk for some cancers.

“Your weight is usually determined by the balance between energy intake, so the kilojoules from food and drinks you consume, and energy expenditure, so the energy used to carry out bodily functions as well as physical activity.

“Improving your diet can be as simple as eating more fruit, vegetables and whole grains. An easy measure is the two and five goal – two fruits and five serves of vegetables every day.

“When it comes to physical activity, if you can’t commit to five hours of physical activity per week it’s important to remember that every little bit counts so making an effort to be more active each day can still lead to better health.”

“We encourage everyone to look at the webpage for their own learning and urge Queensland health professionals to use it as a reference point for helping raise further awareness in their communities.”

In Queensland, about two-thirds of adults and one-quarter of children are above a healthy weight.*

Cancer Council Australia funded research by QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, released in February this year, estimated that 200,000 cancer cases across Australia over the next 25 years could be avoided if people maintained a healthy weight and met physical activity guidelines for cancer prevention.**

For more information on maintaining a healthy weight, visit https://cancerqld.org.au or call Cancer Council’s 13 11 20.


*Report of the Chief Health Officer Queensland: 2018.


**Cancer Council Australia: 2019.


For more information, photos, or interviews, please contact:
Emily Robertson, Public Relations Coordinator, Cancer Council Queensland
E: emilyrobertson@cancerqld.org.au P: (07) 3634 5418 or 0429 592 719