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Living with Obesity

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Discussing obesity with a friend or loved one

Discussing obesityOur views on body image mean that weight is often a very personal and sensitive issue. As such, addressing the issue of weight can often be very tricky. Overweight people often have low self-esteem – the last thing they need is someone telling them they must lose weight. A better approach may be to encourage them to join you in making healthier lifestyle choices.

For more information, see Discussing Obesity with a Friend or Loved One.

Obesity and depression

Obesity and depressionMany explanations have been proposed to link obesity and depression, although no cause and effect has been proven. Depression can result in dietary behaviours which may lead to obesity. Binge eating or comfort eating may result from depression, which is also associated with increased alcohol unhealthy food consumption.

For more information, see Obesity and Depression.

Obesity and sexuality

ObesityResearch on the interaction between obesity and sexuality is limited, but some studies suggest that obesity can significantly impair sexual quality of life, particularly in women. Effective management of obesity using lifestyle changes, diet, drugs, behavioural therapies and, occasionally, weight loss surgery, may lead to improvements in self esteem, sexuality and quality of life.

For more information, see Obesity and Sexuality.

Obesity and fertility

Obesity and fertilityObesity can affect the fertility of both men and women by contributing to problems with ovulation and general sexual dysfunction. Changes in circulating sex hormones are thought to be largely responsible for decreasing fertility. In addition, metabolic syndrome, a condition that can arise from obesity, is associated with symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

For more information, see Obesity and Fertility.

Obesity and pain

Obesity and painThere now appears to be a strong link between obesity and pain. Studies show that obese people are much more likely to feel light to intense pain in many parts of the body. Scientists do not understand exactly how or why obesity causes pain, but it is clear that weight loss can help reduce pain and improve quality of life for obese patients.

For more information, see Obesity and Pain.

Obesity and its cost on the workforce

Obesity and its cost on the workforceObesity costs the Australian economy $637 million dollars each year due to indirect costs associated with increased sick leave, lower productivity, unemployment, disability, early retirement and workplace injuries. This is in addition to the $1.08 billion obesity related healthcare costs. Hidden costs to employers also include the costs of hiring and training replacement staff and administration costs.

For more information, see Obesity and its Cost on the Workforce.


Bullying and obesity in children

Bullying and obesityChildhood obesity is an increasing problem in Australia. Studies suggest that three times as many children are overweight or obese now than 30 years ago. There are many complications of children being overweight. These children suffer from a range of short-term psychological problems including bullying, isolation and poorer self-esteem.

For more information, see Bullying and Obesity in Children.

Comfort eating

Comfort eatingOften when food is eaten, it is not just for the nutritional content or to appease hunger, but also for social or psychological reasons. Comfort eating is a way in which people deal with stress, anxiety, boredom, loneliness or unhappiness. Comfort foods are foods that evoke a psychologically comfortable and pleasurable state when they are eaten.

For more information, see Comfort Eating.

Preventing cancer – overweight and obesity

Preventing cancer - overweight and obesityThere are many health risks associated with being overweight or obese. They include an increased risk of developing a variety of cancers. There is evidence that the more your BMI increases, the greater your risk of developing some cancers. For example, the risk of colorectal cancers increases by 7% for every 2 kg/m2 increase in BMI.

For more information, see Preventing Cancer – Overweight and Obesity.

More information

Obesity and weight loss
For more information on obesity, health and social issues, and methods of weight loss, as well as some useful tools, see
Obesity and Weight Loss.


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Posted On: 7 April, 2010
Modified On: 30 March, 2017


Created by: myVMC