Beating bowel cancer together

Body weight

Being overweight or obese and carrying a lot of weight around your waist can increase your risk of bowel cancer. It is estimated that 11 out of 100 bowel cancers (11%) in the UK are linked to being overweight or obese.

Be a healthy body weight

Measuring your BMI (Body Mass Index) is a simple way of finding out if you’re a healthy weight for your height. Your nurse, GP or dietitian can let you know or you can check your BMI on the NHS website.

Take action if you start to gain weight. As well as being physically active, here are a few tips to reduce your calorie intake if you need to lose weight.

  • Be aware of portion sizes, don’t overload your plate and avoid second helpings. If you are still hungry, have some fruit after your meal.
  • Be wary of ‘large’ or ‘value-sized’ offers. They often give you more food than you need, leading to weight gain.
  • Avoid sugary drinks such as cola, lemonade, fruit squash with added sugar and fruit juices (one small glass of fruit juice per day is enough).
  • Alcohol is high in calories so limit the amount you drink.
  • Watch out for extra calories from biscuits, cakes, sweets and crisps. Snack on fruit and vegetables instead.
  • Set some goals for making changes and enjoy success.

The energy in the food we eat is measured in kilocalories, often shortened to calories. The recommended daily calorie intake is around 2,000 calories each day for women and 2,500 for men.

If you are very overweight and have other health problems, speak to your GP before beginning a weight management and exercise programme.

Updated May 2019

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