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What is obesity?

Obesity is a complex and chronic medical condition. Factors contributing to its development and persistence include genetics, environment, physiology and behaviour. Obesity requires long-term care to prevent and minimise the development of associated conditions such as diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer.

What causes obesity?

  1. Family history: genetics play an important role in your weight. Children whose parents have obesity are more likely to develop overweight or obesity.
  2. Age: Muscle mass decreases with age. This lower muscle mass leads to a decrease in metabolism.
  3. Gender: Men have more muscle than women. Muscles use more energy than fat does which is why men burn 10 to 20 percent more calories than women do at rest.
  4. Diet: Fat provides more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates. This energy difference may explain how fat promotes weight gain.
  5. Physical inactivity: People with obesity tend to be less active and serious obesity can impair the ability to move through arthritis
  6. Emotional or psychological factors: Food is often a source of comfort or celebration.
  7. Culture: Food preparation, meal choices and how food is consumed are learned early in life.

How is obesity treated?

Your doctor will consider and discuss with you the contributing factors to your obesity. Treatment most often involves a combination of lifestyle modifications with or without weight loss medications. Depending on the severity and complications associated with obesity, weight loss surgery may be an option for consideration in some people with obesity. Your doctor will discuss the latest and best medical and surgical options and individualise a management plan for you.

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