Weighty woes

Did you indulge a little too much over the holiday season? You’re not alone.

A survey by some of the state’s top doctors has shown Queenslanders are not being honest with themselves about their weight gain.

Research by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has shown Queenslanders tell themselves porky pies about weight, with 78% of Brisbane residents and 48% of people in regional areas blaming genetics for their weight woes.

This was despite 10% of respondents confessing to eating unhealthy food every day, and a further 45% eating unhealthy food multiple times a week.

AMA Queensland President Dr Bill Boyd said genetics only played a very small role in weight gain.

“I believe it is lifestyle,” he said.

“If you go back to the 1930s, 40s and 50s, the western population at that time was thin.

“Our parents and grandparents were generally thin and there has been no fundamental change in genetic makeup in that time.

“The root causes now lie in people eating too much and not doing enough – a few people may have a genetic predisposition, but overall it is not genetics.”

According to the survey, 45% of Queenslanders put on weight in 2017, with most gaining between one and five kilograms. Another 33% gained between six and 10kg and eight percent gained more than 15kg.

Dr Boyd said many people carried more weight than they should, but warned those wanting to help to be careful when broaching the subject.

“Obesity is well-recognised and we have the answers to help prevent it, but once people become obese it can be very difficult trying to help them,” he said.

“I deal with a lot of young people and am acutely aware of health professionals lecturing young women about their weight.

“There is a real risk of tipping a young woman into an eating disorder, so we must be very sensitive about whom we approach and how we go about it.

“There is a real concern that people can become emotionally damaged once they become obese, as they’re open to ridicule and accusations.”

If you or anyone you know has an eating disorder or body image concerns, call the Butterfly Foundation National Helpline on 1800 334 673.

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