The Courier-Mail

Be positive lest good intentions go to waist


ANTI-OBESITY messaging needs to be more positive and market the physical benefits of weight loss rather than instructin­g people to “put down the remote” and “go for a walk”, according to the state medical body.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley made the remarks yesterday as she urged people to get active after revealing half of Australian­s are fat, battling diabetes or other disease.

Australian Medical Associatio­n Queensland president Chris Zappala said while Ms Ley’s “initiative is excellent”, the “real” benefits of weight loss, which people are interested in, should be promoted.

“Just saying you’re going to reduce cardiac disease is difficult to quantify for a patient and make it real — but you can say your joints will be less painful, you’ll have less reflux and better skin,” Dr Zappala said.

“It needs to be simple but positive and direct to the patient. It’s fine to say ‘get off the couch’ but you have to match that with long-range thinking that puts in place services that will have solutions for these patients as well.

“It’s not the simplicity of (the message that) worries me. It’s the negativity of it.”

Dr Zappala said people were not oblivious to their weight gain and it was important for GPs to go back to them whenever possible to “reinvigora­te” the weight-loss discussion.

Heart Foundation health director Rachelle Foreman said Queensland­ers who were a healthy weight were now a minority group, with the reduction in incidental exercise a major issue. “We certainly haven’t seen major drops in leisure-time physical activity but we have seen big changes over time in the workplace physical activity, activity,” she said.

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