Weight Management

As the sun finally starts to shine, it’s a great time to hop on the scales and check that your weight hasn’t crept up during the chilly winter months.

While it’s not a great measurement on an individual basis, calculating your body mass index (BMI) can be a useful way of getting an idea of whether or not you’re in a healthy weight range. BMI is calculated using the equation: weight divided by height in metres squared (for example: Sally weighs 82 kgs and her height is 1.65m. Her BMI is 82/2.7225 = 30.1).  There are lots of online BMI calculators available, or our nurses and doctors can help you with the measurements and calculations. Generally (there are some variances depending on cultural background, and age) an Australian adult should aim to have a BMI in the range 20-25.

The metabolic benefits of even a small amount of weight loss can be very significant: blood pressure comes down and blood sugars are better controlled, reducing your risks of cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes; you are more likely to ovulate and therefore conceive; sleep apnoea is better controlled so the quality of your sleep is better and you wake feeling more refreshed; and the load being carried by your joints is reduced, reducing your risk of osteoarthritis.

Medical knowledge about weight, particularly the hormones that effect feelings of hunger, and fullness, and the effects on weight of genetics and epigenetics, has vastly increased over the last 10 years.  While exercise is very important for both physical and mental health, the old adage “eat less and exercise more” is out, and health professionals are now able to provide other strategies to help patients lose weight, and make behavioural changes that they are able to sustain long term. A multidisciplinary approach is key: dieticians, psychologists, exercise physiologists, nurses, and your GP can all help you to make lifestyle changes. Additionally, there are now a number of medications available that help with weight loss, as well as the option of referral for a variety of surgical procedures and operations.  At our recent Pro Health Care Education day, Pro Health Care doctors were upskilled about the options available to support our patients with weight loss, and, we’d love to use that knowledge to support you to achieve your weight related goals.

Dr Adelaide Boylan, General Practitioner

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