Alexander Heights doctor Moya Wood was commenting on recent figures that showed 61 per cent of northern suburbs householders were at an unhealthy weight.
Statistics from the federally-funded National Health Performance Authority showed 24 per cent of residents in the north metropolitan area were obese and 37 per cent overweight.
This was in line with the Australian average of 28 per cent obese and 35 per cent overweight.
The report covered more than half a million residents from as far south as Osborne Park, east to Mirrabooka and north to Two Rocks.
While the total north metro figure was the smallest in WA ” the biggest being Goldfields-Midwest at 74 per cent ” it was still a cause for concern according to Dr Wood.
Dr Wood, who has been treating people locally for more than 30 years, said most people did not realise they were overweight.
‘The worrying thing is that it’s increasing ” when is it going to stop?’ she said.
‘People’s perception of what a correct weight is has changed.
‘Because everybody’s overweight, it doesn’t register in their brain that they’re overweight. They just feel part of the norm.’
She said people often ignored their weight problems, even when she warned them of their unhealthy lifestyle.
She referred to one of her patients, who had refused to return to a previous GP because that doctor had told him he was overweight.
‘Some people will just put their head in the sand and not want to know about it,’ Dr Wood said.
‘Some people will try and do something about it and they might do some good for a while, but after that they lose their motivation.’
The Alexander Heights Family Practice physician offered an important tip for those trying to lose weight.
‘Have breakfast,’ she said. ‘A lot of people who are overweight don’t have breakfast.
‘When you eat you increase your metabolism.
‘At the beginning of the day, the most important thing is to increase metabolism.’
UWA Primary Health Professor Alistair Vickery, who chairs local not-for-profit organisation Perth North Metro Medicare Local, described the rate of obesity as “awful”.
‘Obesity is a preventable health issue and it seems doubly awful that so many people are suffering with the problems and diseases that obesity brings,’ he said.
‘Obesity is a huge burden on our health system, with more people needing medical services and hospital beds for conditions associated with obesity.
‘The most important messages we want to get across is that there is help available if you are struggling with your weight, it doesn’t cost a lot and it’s never”font-size: 8pt;”>Prof Vickery said a local GP should be the first port of call, but for further weight-loss advice, Perth North Metro Medicare Local offered free or low-cost programs.
Visit pnml.com.au for more information.
Are you overweight?
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a general guide for gauging a healthy weight.
To calculate your BMI you divide your mass (kg) by your height (m) squared.
Normal weight is a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9.
Overweight: 25 to 29.9.
Obese: 30 or greater.
This is not accurate for pregnant women or people such as athletes who have a lot of muscle.
A BMI calculator can be found in the ‘healthy eating’ section of heartfoundation.org.au.