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Feature Article

A model approach to obesity

Garry Egger, Andrew Binns

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Abstract

In Australia over 65% of men and 53% of women are overweight or obese. Obesity is associated with many other diseases and risk factors. This means that at least one in two patients in general practice are likely to present with excess bodyweight as a comorbidity, if not a primary cause of disease. Addressing lifestyle issues is the first and most important problem to deal with in the treatment of obesity.

Key Points

  • Over 50% of all Australians are classified as overweight or obese and this is increasing by approximately 1% of the population per year.
  • Obesity is linked with a range of health ailments including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
  • Recommending a change of lifestyle is an effective way for GPs to assist overweight patients.
  • Even modest reductions in weight can lead to significant improvements in health.
  • Waist circumference is now regarded as the simplest and best measure of dangerous obesity.
  • A high carbohydrate intake can be useful in a weight loss program.
  • Clinicians should be encouraged to involve allied health professionals in dealing with overweight patients.

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