Weight isn’t all about lifestyle
The Obesity Myth This three-part documentary series follows the struggles of morbidly obese patients and their families as they go through the weight-loss program at Melbourne’s Austin Health.
Twenty-five per cent of Australians are considered to be medically obese and treating the associated health challenges of heart disease, diabetes and stroke cost the Australian community $9 billion a year. The obese are often shunned, judged as suffering from a condition that is self-inflicted.
International obesity expert Joe Proietto, the head of Austin Health’s Weight Control Clinic, challenges this preconception by treating obesity as a chronic genetic disease rather than a lifestyle choice.
Medical facts aside, the series paints a compelling picture of the despair and grief experienced by the clinic’s patients as they battle a disease that could kill them, and that they feel powerless to control. Karen, a 40-year-old wheelchair-bound woman who tips the scales at 246kg, has been a patient at the clinic for more than 12 months but is showing little progress.
Bubbly 48-year-old mum-of-two Tracey has lost more than 73kg in 12 months and is taking a chance and coming off her appetite suppressant medication after reaching her goal weight. Greyhound-loving Wayne was diagnosed with weight-related diabetes as a teen and is facing foot amputation aged 40. And so on.
The Obesity Myth can be viewed as either reassuringly therapeutic or as a cautionary tale, but the bottom line is the series is a polite, measured wake-up call for those who may be unwilling and/or afraid to explore their medical options with respect to weight and subsequent health issues. Monday, 7.30pm, SBS.
tackles society’s preconceived ideas about a serious health issue