Recent ANZOS conference at Sydney ICC

Dr Rigas at Recent ANZOS conference at Sydney ICC

A couple of weeks ago, the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS) held it's annual scientific conference. I was asked to Chair the GP Symposium dinner which was well attended. The GPs who participated were very engaged and enthusiastic to learn more about how to help manage their patients living with obesity and to share experiences, ideas,strategies. (this is the best way for adults to learn).

Given the meeting was for health professionals only, I thought I'd share some key points which were discussed:

  • obesity has a strong genetic component to it (estimated 60-70%) and the rest is environmental. So this means that people with obesity are not responsible for developing the disease; however they are responsible for what they choose to do (or not do) about it.
  • body weight is defended by a very sophisticated regulatory system in the body which is orchestrated by the hypothalamus part of the brain. It should be noted that: a) we can't tell this part of the brain "what to do"; b) when one loses weight the hormone leptin drops, which sets off a domino effect of a number of other hormonal changes in the body which essentially encourages weight regain. This explains the weight yoyo/ weight cycling phenomenon.
  • effective anti-obesity treatments such as anti-obesity medications (AOMs) and bariatric metabolic surgery (BMS) are targeting this physiological response ie trying to overcome these hormonal changes ie prevent or stop the yoyo-ing
  • AOMs & BMS still require healthy lifestyle choices as foundations upon which these add-on therapies will work, namely: a) healthy nutritious portion & calorie controlled food intake b)regular moderate intensity physical exercise & c) mindful eating, including eating when hungry and not for other reasons
  • a multi-disciplinary integrated team approach is required for this chronic disease= lifelong health condition; ie support from nurses, dietitian, psychologist, exercise physiologist and others

I hope you found this helpful. If you are concerned about your weight and how it may be impacting your health, function and wellbeing, speak to a doctor who understands your health condition and wants to help.

  • The University of New South Wales
  • Obesity Australia
  • ANZMOSS – Australian & New Zealand Metabolic and Obesity Surgery Society
  • Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Care Specialist
  • Strategic  Centre for Obesity Professional Education
  • World Obesity