Obesity and being overweight often takes a toll on a person physically and mentally. A person who is obese struggles with health issues as well as the social stigma of not being able to reach the perceived standards of beauty in a society.

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What Is Obesity?

Obesity is often measured in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI) which is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. An obese person in characterized by higher accumulation of body fat which will adversely affect one’s health. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies adults with a BMI of 30 or higher as obese.

Here is a general breakdown of BMI categories:

  • Underweight: BMI less than 18.5
  • Normal weight: BMI 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: BMI 25 to 29.9
  • Obese: BMI 30 or greater

It is important to note that while BMI is a useful screening tool other factors, such as muscle mass and distribution of fat, can influence an individual’s health profile.

What Causes Obesity?

In the calories in-calories out approach, obesity is simply caused by more intake of food than is required by an individual for their lifestyle. The main factors causing obesity are:

  • Dietary factors such as consumption of energy-rich and low-nutrient foods such as ultra
    processed foods due to lack of time or availability.
  • Sedentary lifestyle, desk jobs, little or no physical activity.
  • Mental stress
  • Genetics
  • Lifestyle diseases such as hypothyroidism etc.

How Rampant Is Obesity In Australia?

As per the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017-2018 on Overweight and Obesity, 67% of Australians over the age of 18 are either overweight or obese. 1 in 4 children are living with obesity. These figures are predicted to increase by 2025. Obesity and its related diseases are costing 8.6 billion dollars to Australian economy either directly or indirectly. Obesity is also on the rise in the disadvantaged Australians and Indigenous population due to less awareness on healthy eating and low access to health care.

What Are The Health Implications Of Obesity?

Obesity has far-reaching health implications, affecting various systems and organs in the body. It is associated with an increased risk of numerous chronic conditions and can have a substantial impact on both physical and mental health. Here are some of the key health implications of obesity:

  • Cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke
  • Diabetes and insulin resistance
  • Cancers such as breast cancer, endometrial cancer, colorectal cancer
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Lifestyle diseases such as poly-cystic ovary syndrome
  • Sleep Apnoea, Asthma
  • Infertility
  • Osteoporosis, Arthritis
  • Depression, Anxiety, Low self-esteem

How Can I Make A Difference To My Health?

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s study on “A picture of overweight and obesity in Australia”, 2017, even losing as little as 3 kilograms would reduce the negative health effects and bring back the smile on a person’s face. Especially this holiday season, one can push themselves with a target and fit in your favourite dress without any issues. Here are 10 ways to lose weight and get holiday fit:

1. Eat For The Body You Want And Not For The Body You Have:

You must first understand how many calories you are consuming daily and where are these coming from.

2. Mindful Eating:

Practice mindful eating by savouring each bite, eating slowly, and paying attention to hunger and fullness signals. Promote a healthy relationship with food and avoid binge eating or overeating.

3. Get Physically Active:

Get some motivation and get moving.

4. Get Some Cheerleaders:

Obesity puts not only physical but also mental strain, and it is important to get people around you onboard while trying to lose weight.

  • Let people know of your food choices and let them know assertively to not tempt you into eating unhealthy food till you achieve your goal.
  • Share short-term achievements with your near and dear and celebrate even small wins.
  • Speak to a APHRA accredited doctor or a clinical psychologist online if your obesity is causing immense stress and other mental health issues.

5. Change Lifestyle Rather Than Following a Fad Diets:

It is important to keep the weight off for a longer period and hence sustainability of your weight loss is key. Do not fall into fad diets, instead do smaller lifestyle changes which will positively impact your health. In weight loss, staying consistent is key!

6. Hydrate:

Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Sometimes, the body can mistake thirst for hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking. Staying hydrated can also support overall health and metabolism.

7. Regular Sleep:

Ensure you get an adequate amount of quality sleep. Lack of sleep can disrupt hormonal balance, affecting hunger and satiety hormones. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support weight loss efforts.

8. Reduce Stress:

Chronic stress can contribute to weight gain. Incorporate stress reducing activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga into your routine to help manage stress levels and support overall well being.

9. Medical intervention:

It is important to speak to a doctor or get a telehealth consultation understand how to address your weight loss and if there are any underlying conditions for which you need to take medication, what kind of diet or exercise regimen to follow depending on your health condition and more.

10. Patience:

Recognize that weight loss is a gradual process. Be patient and stay consistent with healthy habits.

Remember, the key to long term weight loss is adopting a holistic and individualized approach. It is essential to focus on overall well-being and make lifestyle changes that you can maintain over the long term. Consulting with healthcare professionals, such as a registered dietitian or a general practitioner, can provide personalized guidance and support on your weight loss journey.

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1. World Health Organization (WHO), Obesity: Reference Link

2. Health Direct, Obesity: Reference Link

3. Australian Bureau of Statistics: Reference Link

4. AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare), A picture on Obesity and Overweight in Australia, 2017: Reference Link

5. Department of health and aged care, Obesity: Reference Link

6. NHRMC, Australian Dietary Guidelines: Reference Link

7. National Obesity Strategy 2022-2032: Reference Link

8. Department of health- Physical activity and exercise guidelines: Reference Link

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