What is Obesity?

Overweight and obesity is a major public health issue in Australia. It results from a sustained energy imbalance - when energy intake from eating and drinking is greater than energy expended through physical activity. This energy imbalance might be influenced by a person’s biological and genetic characteristics, and by lifestyle factors.

Obesity is associated with a number of health problems and importantly is associated with a reduced life expectancy. Excess weight, especially obesity, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some musculoskeletal conditions and some cancers. As the level of excess weight increases, so does the risk of developing these conditions. In addition, being overweight can hamper the ability to control or manage chronic conditions.

Overweight and obesity can be measured in a number of ways, including the commonly used Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is an internationally recognised measure of overweight and obesity at a population level for both adults and children.

The following standard cut-off points are used for people aged 18 and over:

20-25              Normal
25-30              Overweight
30-35              Obese
35-40              Severely Obese
40-50              Morbidly Obese
50+                  Super Obese

Some key Australian obesity statistics

  • Almost 2 in 3 Australian adults were overweight or obese in 2014-2015

  • 28% of Australian adults were obese in 2014-2015, an increase from 19% in 1995

  • 1 in 4 Australian children (aged 2-17) were overweight or obese in 2014-2015

  • In 2014-2015 there were 22,700 hospital admissions for weight loss surgery in Australia (more than double that of 2005-06 - about 9,300)

Source: Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Associated health risks

There are a number of medical conditions that have a direct association with obesity. These include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver disease, respiratory problems, female infertility, and psychological problems such as depression. Patients who are obese are more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease and stroke. 

There is clear evidence that obesity is associated with reduced life expectancy. Those who are morbidly, or super obese face a risk of dying that is twice that of others of the same age.

In addition to the diseases mentioned above, obesity has a number of immeasurable side effects. Morbidly obese people often have a low sense of self-esteem and it is common for them to suffer from depression and to withdraw from social interactions at many levels.

Why Have Weight Loss Surgery?

Surgery for obesity has been carried out for over 50 years and numerous advances have been made during this time. In the past, surgery for weight loss was associated with high risks of side effects and complications. Advanced laparoscopic (keyhole) techniques have allowed this to become a safe and reliable means of achieving and maintaining weight loss.

Surgical treatment of obesity is a major undertaking. It necessitates undergoing major surgery and requires a life long commitment to compliance with post-operative medical care and lifestyle changes. It is not a cosmetic procedure for those who are unhappy with their body image, but rather a medically proven treatment for an established health problem.

Weight Loss Surgery should be considered if you are:

  • Unable to achieve a healthy body weight for a sustained period of time, even through medically supervised dieting and exercise.

  • Have a BMI over 40.

  • Have a BMI over 35 and are experiencing negative health effects.

  • Weigh more than 45 kg above your ideal body weight.

  • Highly motivated and committed to long term lifestyle changes.

Am i a Candidate For Weight Loss Surgery?

There are a few criteria used to determine suitability for surgery. Dr Joseph will look at BMI (Body Mass Index) and in addition also consider the patient’s overall health and any existing medical diagnoses. 

Bariatric surgery can be performed on patients with a BMI of 35 and above.  There are however exceptions. With a BMI of 30-34, Dr Joseph would discuss your particular concerns and any existing conditions (eg. Diabetes, sleep apnea, PCOS, arthritis) with you in order to determine suitability for the procedure.

Types of Bariatric surgical procedures

Bariatric Surgeons first began to recognise the potential for surgical weight loss while performing operations that required the removal of large segments of a patient's stomach and intestine. After the surgery, doctors noticed that in many cases patients were unable to maintain their pre-surgical weight. With further study, Bariatric Surgeons were able to recommend similar modifications that could be safely used to produce weight loss in morbidly obese patients. Over the years these procedures have been continually refined in order to improve results and minimise risks. Today's Bariatric Surgeons have access to a substantial body of clinical data to help them determine which Weight Loss Surgery procedure should be used and why.

Dr Joseph performs two of the most common Bariatric Surgery procedures to achieve successful weight loss results Sleeve Gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve) and Gastric Bypass.

In addition, Dr Joseph also performs Revision Bariatric Surgery for patients who have undergone a previous Bariatric procedure, most often Gastric Bands and sometimes Gastric Sleeve. The reasons for considering Revision Surgery may be due to lack of weight loss, weight regain, significant reflux symptoms or other problems. The exact reasons why these problems occur are quite complex. The decision of what is best for the patient will likely require some investigative procedures to be conducted to look at the stomach prior to deciding on a surgical plan, of course the goal outcome will also direct the decision.


CLICK HERE to find out about Bariatric Surgery (Obesity/Weight Loss Surgery).

For more information about Bariatric Surgery, visit the BodyFree Weight Loss Clinic.

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