Hamstring Stretch - November 2015Australia is today ranked as one of the fattest nations in the developed world. The prevalence of obesity in Australia has more than doubled in the past 20 years.

Australia has become accustomed to sitting down – at work, on the couch, in the car – and it’s taking a major toll on the health of individuals and our economy.

  • Fourteen million Australians are overweight or obese
  • More than five million Australians are obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 )

If weight gain continues at current levels, by 2025, close to 80% of all Australian adults and a third of all children will be overweight or obese. Australia’s increasingly sedentary lifestyle is part of the complex and widespread problem of obesity and other related health diseases, which contribute to the death of more than 7,200 people each year .

Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for non-communicable conditions like:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Some types of cancer
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Kidney disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Endometrial, breast, and colon cancers
  • Mental health and eating disorders.

We all need to be moving more – not just exercising 30 minutes – but regularly throughout the day. Mounting evidence shows even basic regular movement like standing up while at work can help prevent health issues like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.

As experts in physical activity, weight management, heart disease and diabetes prevention, it is no wonder physiotherapists are increasingly playing a vital role in treating individuals for being overweight or obese as well as sharing the broader public health prevention message.

Physiotherapists with their education, training and competence in behaviour change, biomechanics, therapeutic exercise and a wide range of other relevant experience, knowledge and skills are ideally suited to identify, manage and prevent obesity.

Physiotherapists frequently design exercise programs for people from all walks of life to maintain active lifestyles. For individuals who are obese or overweight, a physio can identify and prescribe programs most suited to their medical condition, and coordinate comprehensive obesity management programs. They can help develop a program of exercise to increase your physical activity safely and effectively, and help identify necessary and achievable changes in your lifestyle.

Make an appointment to see your physio today, it can be a good way to get someone started with short-term goals, with a view to supporting the person in a longer-term program to maintain a healthy lifestyle.