In Australia, more than 60% of adults and around 25% of children are classified as being overweight or obese. To assist in improving the health outcomes of those who are overweight or obese, the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing funded the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to review and update the Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, Adolescents and Children in Australia. It is intended that the Guidelines which were released in May 2013, be used by primary healthcare professionals, including general practitioners (GPs), nurses, Aboriginal health workers and allied health professionals (e.g. dieticians, psychologists, exercise physiologists, diabetes educators, social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, mental health nurses). They will also be of interest to other professionals who have contact with people requiring advice about managing overweight and obesity. The way in which different professionals use the Guidelines will vary depending on their knowledge, skills and role, as well as the settling in which care is provided. The Guidelines are likely to be of interest and relevance to consumers.
The Guidelines are a result of a comprehensive assessment of the current scientific evidence. They provide detailed, evidence based guidance for clinicians to assess and manage overweight and obesity, and give specific advice on weight management for:
- adults and adolescents aged more than 18 years who have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 kg/m2 and are at risk of, or have, one or more overweight or obesity-related comorbidities;
- children and adolescents aged between 2 and 18 years who have a BMI greater than the 85th percentile according to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO) percentile charts; and
- infants and children under 2 years of age who demonstrate rapid weight gain as assessed using WHO growth charts.
- Measure waist circumference in addition to calculating BMI.
- Discuss readiness to change lifestyle behaviours.
- Convey the message that even small amounts of weight loss improve health and wellbeing.
- Refer appropriately to assist people to make lifestyle changes or for further intervention.
- Use multidisciplinary approaches – these work better than single interventions.
- Support a self-management approach and provide ongoing monitoring.
- Use BMI charts to monitor growth.
- Promote physical activity, dietary modification and healthy behaviours to families.
- Aim for weight maintenance rather than weight loss.
- Refer for further assessment and specialist assistance with lifestyle interventions if warranted.
- Encourage reduced sitting time.
PDF printable version of Clinical Practice Guidelines for Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, Adolescents and Children in Australia – updated 2013
PDF printable version of Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, Adolescents and Children in Australia – Systematic Review
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Publication number: N57
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