New research released today to coincide with World Obesity Day 2021 (4 March) has revealed that one-in-five obese Australians feel too uncomfortable to raise weight management conversations with their GP.
The research has been released by leading obesity experts as part of the 'ACTION IO Australian cohort' (ACTION-AU) report.
Around two-thirds of Australia's population - approximtely 12.5 million adults - are considered overweight or obese.
The pandemic has reinforced the importance of weight management conversations given obesity is the second largest risk factor for severe COVID-19.
Obesity is associated with a higher death rate across a range of chronic diseases, including cancers, coronary heart disease, stroke and chronic kidney disease.
If current trends continue, between 2011 and 2050, around 1.75 million deaths in Australia will have been caused by overweight and obesity.
The group of experts behind the new study have called for an urgent change in Australia's approach to obesity management.
"Concerningly, approximately one in three (29 per cent) people with overweight or obesity believe there are more important issues to discuss," they said, adding, "Compounding the issue, over half of HCPs [healthcare professionals] (56 per cent) believe there are other, more important issues to discuss, leaving an alarming gap in action."
A new podcast series (Rethink Obesity 4Forums) has been launched on World Obesity Day 2021. They are designed to support GPs manage difficult weight management conversations.