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Community pharmacies are increasingly becoming centres for weight management with pharmacists and pharmacy staff undertaking training and introducing special programs and plans to address this growing area of health concern.
The problem is now designated by the Federal Government as a National Health Priority Area with obesity and overweight issues currently affecting almost 63 per cent of Australian adults and 25 per cent of Australian children.
According to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, an estimated 11.2 million (63.4 per cent) of Australian adults were overweight or obese in the report period 2014–15.
It also found 6.3 million (35.5 per cent) were overweight but not obese and 4.9 million (27.9 per cent) were obese. Overall, a higher percentage of men (70.8 per cent) were overweight or obese than women (56.3 per cent).
Other research predicts that by 2025, nearly 80 per cent of Australians will be overweight or obese.
The focus on obesity and overweight is based on the fact that the issue is the second highest contributor – after dietary risks – to Australia’s burden of disease. It outranks smoking which comes in at third.
Specifically, excess weight is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, some musculoskeletal conditions and some cancers.
It can also make it harder to control or manage chronic diseases.
If you are concerned about your weight you can ask your community pharmacist for help.
Your pharmacist and pharmacy staff can provide you with information on how to lose weight safely, set realistic weight loss goals, and provide extra support if you are trying to lose weight.
Other health care professionals such as dieticians are specifically trained to assist with weight management and help people make long-term changes to improve their health.
Sometimes losing just 5-10 per cent of your current body weight can help substantially decrease your risk of developing serious diseases. Research shows that people who engage the help of a health care professional have a better chance of losing weight and keeping it off.
Your pharmacist can advise you on medicines or diets designed to assist with weight loss, or whether a certain product is right for you.
Your pharmacy may be able to offer you the following additional services to assist in weight loss or management of risk factors associated with obesity:
Health promotion activities such as:
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