The Doctor On Your Side campaign is being launched in NSW on the heels of new research[i] which reveals that more than three in five Australians have tried to lose weight in the last six months.
A survey conducted with 1,000 Australians confirmed that 66 per cent of respondents have not spoken to their doctor about weight loss and knew little about clinically proven options to manage weight. The results also revealed that 34 per cent of respondents have not tried weight loss medication because it had not been suggested as an option by their doctor.
Dr Ginni Mansberg, campaign ambassador and high profile practising GP, says it is unfortunate that people are still embarking on weight loss attempts without consulting their doctors.
“It is one thing to discuss weight issues with friends and family, but it can be more helpful if that conversation is with your GP who knows your medical history, your lifestyle and can discuss all the available and clinically proven options,” said Dr Mansberg. “GPs can also provide referrals to specialists and other healthcare professionals who can help with weight loss, such as dietitians and exercise physiologists.”
About 1 in 2 (47%) of survey respondents considered themselves to be in the healthy weight range. However, when their Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated more than a third of them (35%) had a BMI score over 25, which is in the overweight range (a BMI of 18 to 25 kg/m2 is considered to be the healthy weight range). Dr Mansberg said this underscores how important it is for GPs to weigh patients at each visit and not rely on a visual estimation.
“Some people may not be aware that carrying excess weight can be associated with health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and many others. This is why it is so important for GPs to commit to weighing every patient at each visit so that weight gain can be monitored more effectively. It is better to intervene early rather than having to tackle obesity and other health problems down the track.”
Australians who want to lose weight are encouraged to visit www.doctoronyourside.com.au to access resources to help initiate a discussion about weight loss with their doctor.