“Obesity is an issue affecting people of all ages and incomes, everywhere... In the last three decades, not one country has achieved success in reducing obesity rates.” (Dr Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation)
This document has been peer-reviewed by Fellows of the RACP to help you find high quality CPD resources on obesity.
Resources are categorised by type:
Key organisations & websites
Professional Development in Obesity
Overweight and Obesity is recognised as one of Australia and New Zealand's leading health concerns. Obesity increases the risk of a number of chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, joint problems and sleep apnoea. Childhood obesity is also a serious health concern, which can have long lasting health, social and economic effects. (Obesity: Prevalence Trends in Australia, 2014 and Obesity Statistics, Ministry of Health NZ)
Rates of overweight and obesity continue to rise in Australia and New Zealand. Obesity is distributed unevenly in societies, affecting disadvantaged groups and some ethnic groups more than others. This collection provides a selection of resources to support Fellows and Trainees in staying up-to-date on this important health issue.
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1. Key Organisations & Websites
Useful as a starting point and overview of current work in this
- New Zealand Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health is the New Zealand government's principal advisor on health and disability. It provides research publications, latest statistics, as well as popular guides and tools.
- Health Info Net
Health Info Net delivers quality information and resources about overweight and obesity among Indigenous people, for those working with, studying or interested in the overweight and obesity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Monash University Centre for Obesity Research and Education (CORE)
The Centre for Obesity Research and Education (CORE) undertakes research which aims to better understand obesity, and obesity-related diseases. CORE is an international leader in the study of bariatric surgery. The website provides links to research, tools, resources, and information on current news and events.
- Global Obesity Centre, Deakin University
The Global Obesity Centre offers a comprehensive research program and conducts training workshops in community prevention approaches to obesity.
- World Obesity
The World Obesity Federation represents professional members of the scientific, medical and research communities from over 50 regional and national obesity associations, creating a global community of organisations dedicated to solving the problems of obesity.
- World Health Organisation (WHO) - Obesity
The WHO website provides fact sheets, publications, and statistics on obesity across the globe. Information on WHO's programs and activities can also be found on the website, such as the 'Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health'.
- Obesity Australia
Obesity Australia's mission is to drive change in the public perceptions of obesity, its prevention and its treatment. The Obesity Australia website provides information on news and events, as well as links to publications and resources from the 2015 and 2016 Summits.
- Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS)
Established in 1991, ANZOS is a scientific organisation of medical practitioners, dietitians, scientists and other health care professionals interested in obesity research, treatment and public health initiatives directed at the prevention of obesity.
- The Sax Institute
The Sax Institute's website provides the latest news and research publications on obesity, weight management and nutrition. The Sax Institute's focus is to promote the use of research evidence in health policy.
- Obesity and Energetics Offerings
This US-based website, supported by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, provides an on-going update of a broad range of obesity-related material.
The University of Auckland's International Network for Food and Obesity/NCD Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS) is a global network of organisations and researchers that aims to monitor and support public and private sector actions to create healthy food environments and reduce obesity.
Useful for brief overviews of topics and recent developments
How can Policy Support the Provision of Healthy Food in Communities?
Dr Corinna Hawkes, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the World Cancer Research Fund International, presented a seminar at Deakin University on how food policies can affect and support the provision of healthy foods in communities.
This podcast on childhood obesity, produced by RaisingChildren.net.au covers ways this health issue can be approached by families. Recent research into childhood obesity, and tips for talking to children about their weight, are also discussed.
- Globesity - Fat's New Frontier
This documentary from Foreign Correspondent ABC provides a global outlook on obesity around the world.
- The Genetics of Obesity
This podcast from the University of Cambridge explains how genetics and the brain play a key role in obesity.
- Sugar: The Bitter Truth
In this video, Dr Robert H. Lustig - Professor of Paediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California specialising in neuroendocrinology and childhood obesity - explores the damages caused by sugary foods which are high in fructose and low in fibre. For further information on this topic, the SBS documentary The Sugar Conspiracy is also an interesting watch.
3. Events and Courses
Useful for in depth, structured learning
Psychological Approaches for Obesity
This three day professional course offered by The Australian Centre for Eating Disorders teaches specific skills for working with obese adults by addressing the practical and psychological factors they may be experiencing. The course is suitable for a range of health care professionals, including doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, and nutritionists. This course does have an associated fee.
The Charles Perkins Centre
The Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney offers various events and talks on the topic of obesity.
The Conference Series website provides details of all upcoming Obesity conferences around the globe, for the remainder of 2016 and 2017.
Obesity Programs - MDBriefcase.com
MD Briefcase is a Canadian continuing medical education provider which offers a number of online courses on obesity, including 'Halting Obesity Progression' and 'Why Can't My Patient Lose Weight?'. All courses are aimed at physicians, medical students, residents and nurses.
Useful for implementing what you have learned in your daily practice
Body Mass Index: Consideration for Practitioners
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention at the Department of Health and Human Services provides a fact sheet for practitioners on Body Mass Index (BMI) which explains what BMI is, why it should be used and how BMI levels should be interpreted.
Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults
This fact sheet by the Heart Foundation provides key facts on obesity, as well as information about physical activity, healthy eating and maintaining weight loss. The fact sheet could be a useful guide for patients.
The Practical Guide: Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults
This guide describes how health care practitioners can provide their patients with the direction and support needed to effectively lose weight and keep it off. It provides the basic tools needed to appropriately assess and manage overweight and obesity. The guide was convened by the North American Association for the Study of Obesity and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, U.S.A.
Obesity in Pregnancy
Obesity has direct implications on the health of a pregnancy, as well as the weight of the child. This clinical guideline, produced by the Queensland Government, has been prepared to promote and facilitate consistency of practice for health professionals in private maternity and neonatal services.
Overweight and Obesity: Implications for Workplace Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation
The Australian Safety and Compensation Council has released this scoping paper which aims to inform readers on how an increased prevalence of obesity affects occupational health and safety and the workers' compensation system in Australia.
Nutrition and Activity Hub
The Nutrition and Activity Hub website provides several tools containing practical advice for patients regarding food and activities.
5. Key Journals
Useful for keeping up to date with research and finding out more on
Obesity Reviews is the official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. This peer-reviewed medical journal publishes reviews on all obesity-related disciplines.
The Obesity Society publishes this monthly journal, which is dedicated to increasing knowledge and fostering research into obesity.
This journal covers research into all aspects of obesity during childhood and adolescence.
Obesity Research and Clinical Practice (ORCP)
The ORCP aims to publish high quality clinical and basic research relating to the epidemiology, mechanism, complications and treatment of obesity.
International Journal of Obesity
The International Journal of Obesity is a multi-disciplinary journal which addresses the development and treatment of obesity, and the functional impairments associated with obese state.
This is the official journal of the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders. The journal is aimed towards bariatric and metabolic surgeons and provides an international, interdisciplinary forum for communicating the latest research and surgical techniques.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
The journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism is a world-leading peer-reviewed medical journal for endocrine clinical research and clinical practice information.
6. Recommended Reading
Useful for keeping up to date with research and finding out more on
RACP Curated Collection on Diabetes
The Curated Collection on Diabetes is a CPD resource which has been peer-reviewed by RACP Fellows, to provide Fellows and Trainees with a high quality curated list of key organisations, webcasts, courses, tools, key journals and readings on the topic of Diabetes.
Lewis, S., Thomas, S.L., et al. (2014) How Do Obese Individuals Perceive and Respond to the Different Types of Obesity Stigma that they Encounter in their Daily Lives? A Qualitative Study. Social Science & Medicine, 73: 1349-1356.
This study aims to advance knowledge of weight-based stigma by exploring how obese adults described the different types of obesity stigma that they faced, how they responded to this stigma, and how different types of stigma impact on their health and social wellbeing.
van Dijk, S.J., Molloy, P.L., et al. (2014) Epigenetics and Human Obesity. International Journal of Obesity, 1-13.
There have been an increasing number of studies investigating the role of epigenome in obesity, due to technological advances. This paper provides a systematic review of studies investigating the association between obesity and either global, site-specific or genome-wide methylation of DNA.
Penney, T.L., and Kirk, S.F.L. (2014) The Health at Every Size Paradigm and Obesity: Missing Empirical Evidence May Help Push the Reframing Obesity Debate Forward. American Journal of Public Health, 10.2105.
This article looks at the value of the Health at Every Size (HAES) paradigm, as a weight-neutral, public health approach for the prevention of obesity. It examines the authors' understanding of HAES within the context of public health approaches to obesity, and presents strengths and limitations of the evidence available.
- Lowe, M. (2014) Obesity and Climate Change Mitigation in Australia: Overview and Analysis of Policies with Co-benefits. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. 38/1753-6405.
This study explores which policies have co-benefits to both obesity and climate change in Australia. A literature review was conducted on the shared causes of, and solutions to, obesity and climate change. Policies with potential co-benefits were also analysed based on their feasibility and capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and equitably reduce obesity rates in Australia.
- Gluck, M.E., Alonso-Alonso, M., et al. (2015) Neuromodulation Targeted to the Prefrontal Cortex Induces Changes in Energy Intake and Weight Loss in Obesity. Obesity, 23: 2149-2156.
This article examines how transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) modifies cortical excitability and may facilitate improved control of eating. The study involved a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled parallel study during which participants received three sessions of tDCS or sham over the course of 9 days.
- Jakicic, J.M., Tate, D.F., et al. (2014) Objective Physical Activity and Weight Loss In Adults: The Step-up Randomized Clinical Trial. Obesity, 22: 2284-2292.
The aim of this clinical trial was to examine the amount of objectively measured moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and light physical activity (LPA) that is associated with long-term weight loss, and the maintenance of clinically significant weight loss.
- De Pergola, G., and Silvestris, F. (2013) Obesity as a Major Risk Factor for Cancer. Journal of Obesity; 2013: 291546.
In this article from the Journal of Obesity, the major pathogenic links between obesity and susceptibility to cancer are reviewed.
- NCD Risk Factor Collaboration. (2016) Trends in Adult Body-Mass Index in 200 Countries from 1975 to 2014: A Pooled Analysis of 1698 Population-Based Measurement Studies with 19.2 Million Participants. Lancet 2016; 387: 1377-96.
This article from the Lancet 2016 provides findings on global obesity trends, and illustrates that if current trends continue, the probability of meeting the global obesity target is virtually zero.
- University of Cambridge: Research Articles on Obesity
The University of Cambridge has a variety of short articles on obesity, with topics including 'Inability to safely store fat increases risk of diabetes and heart diseases' and 'Brains of overweight people ten years older than lean counterparts at middle-age'.
- Wyatt, H.R. (2013) Update on Treatment Strategies for Obesity. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism; 98:4.
This article highlights how Endocrinologists today need to be positioned and prepared to effectively treat obesity, as it is one of the major causes of Type 2 Diabetes. It outlines different treatment strategies, and the importance of keeping up with advances in obesity treatment.
- Scrinis, G. (2015) Big Food Corporations and the Nutritional Marketing and Regulation of Processed Foods. Canadian Food Studies 2:2, 136-145.
This report looks at the influence that the Big Food Corporations (Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Mars, Nestlé etc.) have over consumers, and how the increase in consumption of highly processed foods has paralleled the increase in rates of obesity.
- Birch, E. (2015) The Role of Socioeconomic, Demographic and Behavioural Factors in Explaining the High Rates of Obesity Among Indigenous Australians. Australian Economic Papers, 54: 209-228.
This article looks at the role of demographics, socioeconomic status and behavioural characteristics in explaining obesity rates of Indigenous Australians. The study found that the key factors that impact on the probability of being obese are wealth, engagement in physical activity, and diet.
- Theodore, R., McLean, R., et al. (2015) Challenges to Addressing Obesity for Māori in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 39: 509-512.
This paper examines obesity prevalence, causes and consequences for Māori. It explores how health differences persist and how public health interventions could be implemented in more effective ways in the future.
- Sugar: Consumption at a Crossroads (Credit Suisse)
This report from Credit Suisse looks at the sugar debate and sugar consumption across the globe.
- Cochrane Library: Obesity and Overweight
The Cochrane Library database is updated regularly with the latest research articles on Obesity and Overweight.
- Clinical Guidelines for Weight Management in New Zealand Adults, and Clinical Guidelines for Weight Management in New Zealand Children and Young People
These clinical guidelines have been commissioned by the Ministry of Health, NZ, for the management of overweight and obese adults, children and young people. The guidelines have a focus on Māori, Pacific and South Asian populations.
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