What is Obesity?

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines obesity as an individual’s BMI (body mass index) being greater than or equal to 30.
  • BMI = Weight in Kilograms / Height in metres X Height in metres

Burden of Obesity in Australia

  • Obesity is a major risk factor for heart attacks, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, breast cancers and sleep apnea.
  • As the level of excess weight increases, so does the risk of developing above conditions.
  • In 2014-15, almost 2 in 3 Australian adults were overweight or obese.
  • In 2014-15, 1 in 4 Australian children (age 2-17) were overweight or obese.

How can Obesity be Managed?

Set a realistic goal

  • We do not put on weight overnight, therefore do not expect to achieve a target weight within months.
  • With diet and exercise only, the realistic initial weight lost is about 5-7% of total body weight.
  • Do not try to lose more than 4kg a month as rapid weight loss can lead to unwanted health complications.

    Diet and Exercise

  • This is gold standard and backbone of all weight lost programs.
  • Weight lost occurs when total expenditure (calories that you use to stay active) is more than total calorie intake.
  • Consider seeing a dietician for an individual tailored dietary program.
  • Try to avoid low calorie diets that effect basal metabolic rate. 

    Pharmacological assistance

  • If you have tried and failed to lose weight with diet and exercise alone, then talk to your GP about options of weight lost medication.
  • Orlistat: it reduces fat absorption after meals. People on average lose about 8% of body weight in 12 months. The main side effect is frequent fatty diarrhea if the diet has high fat content.
  • Duromine: helps to suppress appetite and it can only be used for up to 3 months. Net weight lost ranges from 1- 10 kg in 3 months. Side effects includes poor sleep, dry mouth, constipation and nervousness etc.

    Weight lost surgery

  • If your BMI is over or equal to 40; or is between 35 to 40 and you have at least one serious health issue like: type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea or hypertension etc., you may qualify for weight lost surgery.
  • Weight loss surgery can achieve up to 50-60% of weight lost in a short period of time, which can be maintained with an ongoing diet and exercise.