The association between body fatness and cancer risk varies by cancer site and by body size. What is clear however, is that aiming to achieve a Body Mass Index at the lower end of the healthy weight range is desirable (see WCRF recommendations on body fatness). The European Code Against Cancer guides us to “take action to be a healthy body weight.

Many people ask whether taking action to lose weight in adulthood might be too late and the damage has already been done, but there is now encouraging data from many sources to indicate that weight loss can reduce cancer risk. For many people, weight loss is a major challenge and we hear (and see) lots about the struggles that people have. What we hear much less about, are the quiet words of success – which isn’t just about the quantity of weight lost but also what weight loss means on a day to day basis to people.

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The health benefits of even very modest weight loss are well described (3-5% of body weight), and include reduced risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but positive voices around achieving success (and that includes avoiding weight gain) are often missed.

During September, the SCPN will focus our twitter campaign on the things people who have participated in weight loss studies have told us about their weight loss journey. We are featuring a people perspective rather than a medical perspective to remind us all (in the words of many adults) that #LosingWeightFeelsGood!

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If you want to know about these studies – have a look at the following materials which includes qualitative data that hasn’t always appeared in the main medical papers:


This is the new me…

Football Fans In Training trial (weight loss programme for men delivered in Scottish Premier League clubs)

The lovely walks I had to do…

I couldn’t believe how is was coming off…

ActWELL (lifestyle programme for women attending routine breast screening clinics)

I had maybe just lost that wee bit, the thrill it gave me…

BeWEL (weight loss programme for people aged 50 to 70 with colorectal adenoma)

Well it makes you feel so full of life…

LiveWELL (Lifestyle change programme for colorectal cancer survivors)


Making a start is often the hardest bit to lose weight. For people with a BMI over 25 the effort is worth it for many health reasons. Can you help support people in your community towards achieving  new weight loss trajectory  as part of cancer prevention planning and feeling good about themselves. 🙂

See Take life on, one step at a time and Lose Weight | NHS Live Well.

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