Weight Management: What's Your BMI?
Those who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing cancer than those who maintain a healthy body weight. For cancer survivors, obesity can lead to complications after surgery, second cancers, recurrence, a weakened immune system or hormonal issues.
Aside from avoiding tobacco products, weight management is considered one of the most important modifiable risk factors in preventing cancer. Not only can weight loss reduce one’s risk of developing cancer, but it can also minimize symptoms and improve quality of life.
Cancer survivors should seek to maintain a healthy body weight. Since number depends on a person’s height, experts generally use Body Mass Index (BMI) as a measure of healthy weight. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight (in kilograms) by their height squared (in meters).
Cancer survivors should strive to avoid excess weight, be as lean as possible without being underweight, and both men and women [should maintain a BMI between 18.5 and 25.0.
While your provider can give you more accurate information, here’s a simple tool to help calculate your BMI.
Maintaining a healthy body weight is achieved by balancing energy intake with energy expenditure. This means finding a balance between how much energy you put into your body by eating and drinking, and how much energy your body uses through physical activity.
For most people, weight loss can occur by decreasing your calorie intake and increasing your level of physical activity.
For those who are already overweight or obese, even losing a small amount of weight is beneficial. Since awareness is the first step to making a change, start by keeping a food diary or physical activity journal to assist in your weight loss.