Australian waistlines expanding
There is further evidence Australians are getting fatter, but it is adults and not children who are causing the most concern for doctors.
A new health report into general practice has found obesity rates in adults increased by 1 per cent over the last 10 years.
Almost two thirds of the population are now classed as overweight or obese.
The report's author, Lisa Valenti, says one in three children are obese.
"It is a worryingly high rate but it hasn't been increasing over that 10-year period, as opposed to adults, for whom the overweight and obesity rates have actually increased significantly," she said.
"So it's actually the adults where the problem is emerging."
The report has also called for patients to identify their Indigenous status when they register with a general practice.
The report says this would make doctors more aware of the increased risk the patient has for a number of health problems.
It found Indigenous patients were more likely to have the three main risk factors of smoking, drinking and obesity.
The editor of the report, Doctor Helena Britt, says this leads to a greater chance of developing chronic disease.
"Indigenous status should be as basic as a question that's automatically asked so that GPs can identify Indigenous patients, their increased risk of a number of conditions, and so provide the additional preventive care that is funded by government," she said.
Comment: I've searched and not been able to find the report or an abstract of it available online. Typically, the news doesn't tell us its title or link us, so we can't go see for ourselves what it says.
However, a search for Lisa Valenti in academic papers and looking at the article above tells us that Valenti's interests are in GP care of patients, particularly those with long-term problems like obesity and drinking. And in fact the article implies that it's not adults in general they looked at, but adults presenting to a GP.
I would expect that because obesity gives so many health problems, and is associated with catching flu and so on more often, fat people are more likely to go to the doctor. So a doctor thinking everyone is fat is like a cop thinking everyone is a criminal.
So I'm sceptical that two-thirds of Australians are overweight or obese. Nonetheless, it is a worrying trend.
One paper she wrote looked at GP patients' weight-loss attempts. The graphs with it are interesting (see pdf on bottom left of linked page). Around 65% of obese people say they've made weight-loss attempts in the last 12 months. About 18% have made 5 or more attempts.
This is where I feel scepticism again. Some people are lying to their GPs, I think. And probably themselves.
What do you lot reckon?