New multi-discipline group tackles obesity crisis

Douraid Abbas

Douraid Abbas

A NEW mutli-disciplinary group in Ballarat is putting education and awareness at the fore to treat the region’s obesity crisis.

Ballarat surgeon Douraid Abbas said obesity was such a complex, chronic and often misunderstood health issue that for health professionals to understand options, and how they could support each other, was vital for best patient outcomes.

Dr Abbas has set up the state’s first obesity education group for general practitioners and allied health professionals to share their knowledge and practical insights.

He said research showed about 83 per cent of GPs did not talk about obesity or measure patients, largely because they were unsure how to best do this. Many just referred patients to dieticians.

“There are options available. People often get fed up and lose faith and hope in their diet,” Dr Abbas said.

“We aim to treat obesity with the best medical evidence-based science we have at the moment and not long-held misinformation: patients are not lazy, most do not love eating and most are not conscious eaters.”

Ballarat has a well-publicised high obesity rate. Dr Abbas said educating health professionals so they could confidently talk to patients about options was a big step to tackling the issue.

The obesity education group, which aims to meet three times a year, featured GPs, psychologists, bariatric nurses, physiotherapists and pharmacists in this week’s meeting, as well as Dr Abbas’ surgical perspective.

Dr Abbas said Ballarat was lucky to have access to new, exciting treatments for diabetes, obesity and bariatric surgery, but this could only work well when combined with the right diet and lifestyle changes and healthcare conversations. 

The group is open to all health professionals. For those who wish to join, email Dr Abbas: