"I'd much rather see a heavy person who's physically active in my office than a skinny person who's completely out of shape."
Dr. Wayne Callaway, New York Times, October 24, 2000
We know that being overweight or obese raises the risk of some cancers, especially those of the colon, pancreas, kidney, uterus, and breast.
There is also some evidence that cancer survivors who are overweight or obese are at higher risk for their cancer to come back, or to be diagnosed with a second cancer.
However, there are clear health benefits for the focus to be on having a balanced lifestyle - that is, to be physically active and to consume nutritious food.
To improve your health by losing weight, a good place to start is by knowing your Body Mass Index. You can then review our sections on Physical Activity and Nutrition for more information on how to achieve a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Speak with your health care team about setting reasonable goals for weight loss.
Fat carried around your middle is a health risk for cancer and other diseases. Women should aim for a waist measurement below 35 inches (80 cm); men should keep their waist measurements below 40 inches (102 cm).
Include plenty of fibre in your diet. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits: at least five servings a day, more if possible. Fill up on green leafy vegetables at mealtimes and snack on fruit if you are feeling hungry between meals.
For general nutrition questions, you can call Healthlink BC 8-1-1 which is a free nutrition information telephone service offered by Registered Dietitians. Call 8-1-1 anywhere in BC, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
Use the chart below to identify your Body Mass Index, or BMI. Your BMI is calculated based on your height and weight and gives you an indication whether you are at a healthy weight - defined for persons aged 18 to 64 years old as a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9. If your BMI is higher than 25, you are considered overweight. A BMI over 29.9 indicates obesity.