Weight management and obesity

Obesity is a term used to describe somebody who is very overweight with a high degree of body fat. Being a little overweight may not cause many noticeable problems, but once you are carrying a few extra kilograms, you may develop symptoms that affect your daily life.

If you are carrying a few extra kilograms you are not alone.. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare published report findings outlining the major health and financial costs of obesity in Australia—Almost one-quarter of children and two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and rates are increasing - this cost the economy $8.6 billion in 2011–12.


I think I am overweight, what can I do?

You can visit your doctor or health practitioner to find out if you are overweight and set appropriate weight loss goals, assess/address any related health problems, and establish what support you may need to achieve your healthy lifestyle goals.

In order to help you, your doctor may need to ask you questions about:
    • Your family history and other health conditions, such as diabetes
    • Possible underlying causes for your weight gain – for example, a medical condition or medication that can cause increased weight.  
    • Your lifestyle habits such as your diet, amount of physical exercise, alcohol intake and whether you smoke 
    • How you feel about being overweight 
    • Your level of motivation for losing weight

    Your doctor may also perform tests including measuring your blood pressure, the distance around your waist, glucose (sugar) and lipid (fat) levels in your blood and calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI).

    The body mass index (BMI) is a commonly used way of assessing a persons weight by dividing their weight in kilograms by height in metres squared.


    I've calculated my BMI; what does the number mean?

    If your BMI is:

    • between 25 and 29, you would be considered overweight
    • between 30 and 40, you would be considered obese
    • over 40, you would be considered very obese.


    Is there a medicine I can take to help lose weight?

    Weight loss medicines are medications that can be used to help you lose weight when lifestyle changes – such as healthy diet and exercise – have not been successful on their own.

    There are several prescription and non-prescription medicines and products available for weight loss in Australia. Your doctor and pharmacist can discuss with you the risks and benefits of these medicines.

    Weight loss medicines are usually only used when other methods have been tried repeatedly without success. Sometimes medicine is used to kick start weight loss, to help maintain weight loss or prevent regaining weight following weight loss.

    It’s important to remember that making healthy food choices, reducing your intake of calories and increasing the amount of physical activity that you do must be a part of your weight loss plan. Taking weight loss medications won’t result in healthy weight loss without making other changes to your lifestyle.