A study done by the Cancer Research used data from around 5,000 13-15-year-old who were asked about their weight and if they thought they were too heavy, about right or too light. Later these answers were matched with their Body Mass Index (BMI) and it was concluded that almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of the teenagers had a BMI within the normal-weight range, a fifth (20 per cent) had a BMI in the overweight category and seven per cent were categorised as obese.
It was found that around 40 per cent thought they were about the right weight with very few saying they were too light. Carrying excess weight increases the risk of up to 10 different types of cancer, including cancers of the breast and bowel. Professor Jane Wardle said that young people who think they’re overweight when they’re not can sometimes develop devastating eating disorders but they are delighted to know that most of the normal-weight teenagers had a realistic view of their body size.
Julie Sharp, head of health information at Cancer Research UK, said that overweight teenagers were more likely to become overweight adults at higher risk of cancer. She added that it is important that young people who are too heavy have support to be more active and make healthy changes to their diet as making these changes as teenagers could help protect them from cancer as adults.