11:56pm Friday 18 August 2017

100 extra calories a day causes nearly a stone in weight gain every year

To mark the beginning of Cancer Prevention Week today (May 13), World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has launched the 100 Calorie Challenge to encourage people to make small dietary changes to cut their risk of cancer. Being overweight or obese is one of the leading cancer risk factors.

Science suggests that an effective way to address rising obesity rates is to make small changes to the number of calories consumed and expended.

Kate Mendoza, Head of Health Information at WCRF, said: “Anyone who’s ever tried dieting will know how difficult it is to lose weight so we’re proposing the 100 Calorie Challenge so people can avoid putting on that extra weight in the first place.

“Cutting 100 calories from your daily diet is relatively simple – equal to cutting out one-and-a-half digestive biscuits – but the cumulative effect of such a small daily amount could prevent nearly an extra stone in body weight over a year.

“This strategy of small changes could prevent additional weight gain and help reduce cancer risk. Small sustainable changes are easier for people to follow and better than larger ones that can’t be maintained.”

Leading diet and fitness guru Rosemary Conley CBE is supporting this year’s Cancer Prevention Week.

She said: “I have more than 40 years’ experience of helping people to lose weight and get fit and believe World Cancer Research Fund’s 100 Calorie Challenge is a great way to help people achieve a healthy weight and reduce their risk of getting cancer, as well as other diseases.

“Not many people are aware that consuming just an extra 100 calories per day can add up to an 11lb increase in body weight over the course of a year. The WCRF campaign helps people to tackle weight gain in a realistic way by setting achievable goals.

“Like my approach of combining diet with fitness, WCRF promotes a lifestyle of healthy diet and physical activity to help prevent cancer.”

Being overweight or obese is second only to smoking as the biggest risk factor for several types of cancer.

In the UK, 18 per cent of cancer cases are linked to being overweight or obese and could be prevented if everyone were a healthy weight. This amounts to 22,110 cases of cancer a year and relates to cancers of the bowel, breast, pancreas, womb, oesophagus, gall bladder and kidney.

Notes to editors:

  • For more information about the 100 Calorie Challenge go to http://100caloriechallenge.org/
  • The British Dietetic Association calculates that an extra 100 calories a day would equal weight gain of 5kg, or 11lb, by the end of the year. This is based on 3,500 calories equating to 1lb of body fat. http://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/Want2LoseWeight.pdf
  • A healthy weight is defined as a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9. WCRF’s BMI calculator: http://www.wcrf-uk.org/cancer_prevention/health_tools/bmi_calculator.php
  • Can a small-changes approach help address the obesity epidemic? A report of the Joint Task Force of the American Society for Nutrition, Institute of Food Technologies, and International Food Information Council. James O Hill. American Society for Nutrition, 2009
  • Using the Energy Gap to Address Obesity: A Commentary. James O Hill et al. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2009

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