Queensland's obesity crisis

What can be done to stop the state’s expanding waistline?

A survey of doctors around the state has revealed most overweight and obese Queenslanders know they are putting their health at risk but are not willing to make a change. 

The survey conducted by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) found more than 70% of doctors had seen a rise in the number of patients treated for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and strokes when compared with the same results obtained five years ago.

AMA Queensland President Dr Dilip Dhupelia said it was clear Queensland was losing the battle of the bulge.

“Doctors are treating up to 20% more patients with obesity-related illnesses,” Dr Dhupelia said. 

“Equally worrying is the patients’ apathy towards the serious health issue.

“Nearly 90% of doctors said their patients were not prepared to change their diet or exercise, even when they were aware of the health dangers of being overweight or obese.”

Dr Dhupelia encouraged Queenslanders battling the bulge to create healthier habits and visit their GP for a health check-up and to make a weight-loss plan. 

“We need Queenslanders to recognise obesity as a serious public health problem and start taking steps towards a healthier future,” he said.

“Small daily changes can have big effects over time.”

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Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Dr Steven Miles said obesity was a leading cause of hospitalisation and disability in Queensland.

“Being overweight or obese impacts people’s lives every single day – they struggle to run around and play with their kids or many spend days strapped to a dialysis machine,” Dr Miles said.

“It increases costs to our health system and the prevalence of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, back pain, osteoarthritis and many cancers. 

“Reducing the rate of obesity is a priority of the Queensland Government. We’ve established Health and Wellbeing Queensland to support people with eating better, becoming more active and creating healthier environments to live, work and play.”

RACQ Head of Community and Education and health advocate David Contarini has interviewed several health specialists as part of Your shout’s health podcast series. Listen now. 

Obesity facts and figures: 

  • In Queensland, two-thirds (66%) of adults and one quarter (25%) of children overweight or obese. 
  • Obesity costs Australian businesses $477 million a year through lost productivity and absenteeism. 
  • Obesity contributes to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.