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Obesity and its management
The weight of the average Australian is increasing. More than 62% of men and 47% of women are overweight or obese. This trend is partly the result of increases in how much we eat and decreases in our activity. We tend to eat more fat and use more labour-saving devices e.g. using a remote control when sitting watching television.
People who are overweight have an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. If your waist measurement is more than 94 cm (women) or 100 cm (men), then you are at increased risk.
Although weight can be lost quickly, treatment has to be long term. Before treatment begins, a goal should be set e.g. a weight loss of 6-10 kg. To achieve this, a low fat diet is needed. While exercise, such as regular walking, helps to reduce weight, we should also be more active. For example, if possible use the stairs instead of a lift, walk or ride a bicycle instead of driving a car for short journeys.
Some medicines are available to treat obesity, but they are not ideal. They tend to be used only when a person's weight is a very serious health risk. Surgery may need to be considered in people who are very obese.
The National Health and Medical Research Council has a strategic plan for the prevention of obesity. This plan focuses on increasing Australians' physical activity and consumption of breads, cereals, fruit and vegetables, instead of high fat foods.