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Obesity treatment gap gets exposed
Dr Liz Sturgiss and Professor Kirsty Douglas have discovered a major weakness in treating obesity.
Despite two-thirds of Australia s
population being either overweight
or obese GPs don t have a
treatment option of their own.
The first step for a general
practitioner is a referrel to
But two Canberra GPs want to
change that. They believe they have
found an obvious gap in treatment
options for one of the nation s most
publicised health problems and
they re offering a remedy.
Professor Kirsty Douglas and Dr
Elizabeth Sturgiss are about to
present their findings to the
Canberra Health Annual Research
Meeting this week.
"Currently gold standard is to
refer people to a dietitian, exercise
physiologist or a specialised
weight clinic, Dr Sturgiss said.
"I d offer that to people and they d
go away and come back and say,
look, I don t want to go to those
other people can you just help
me? , she said.
Seeing the specialists was still
considered the best approach. But
for those who couldn t afford it,
were uncomfortable with that
treatment plan or were living in
rural or remote areas who didn t
have access to specialists, there
were few alternatives.
"What stunned us was that there
was almost no research in this area
at all -- even internationally,
Professor Douglas said.
"We so didn t believe the results
that I insisted Elizabeth go and talk
to someone else and do different
searches. The lack of research for
GP treatment of obesity was
startling. They said evidence
existed but it often took the form of
300-page medical documents -- not
something that a GP could easily
distil to treat a patient. So far the
doctors have synthesised the
evidence in patient fact sheets and
worksheets for GPs. The next step
is to pilot the program to test its
effectiveness. "It is a very long
process from identification of the
gap to getting a tool that you can
trial, to testing the trial, to getting
the evidence, Professor Douglas
said. The GPs have applied for
funding to do the pilot with 10
general practices in the ACT.
Reported savagings rise towards 400
More than 120 Canberrans have
been mauled by dogs in the past
12 months -- most in public
Dogs have attacked 379
times in the last year, according
to government figures, in the
worst instances killing other
animals and causing serious
injuries to people ranging from
shock to deep cuts and puncture
wounds requiring hospital
Two dog owners have cases
before court and the Territory
government is considering
handing out harsher penalties to
Canberrans whose dogs attack.
The majority of the attacks --
257 of them -- were on other
animals and the remaining 122
were on people.
A spokesman for the ACT s
Territory and Municipal
Services (TAMS) said 22 dogs
had been destroyed in the
2013-14 financial year as a
result of the attacks.
This is a result of the owner
surrendering the dog or the dog
not being claimed and not being
assessed as suitable for re-
homing, he said.
Generally, dogs surrendered
under these circumstances are
not suitable for re-homing.
The figure for 2013-14 is
significantly higher than the
ACT s annual average of 260
attacks a year.
TAMS Minister Shane
Rattenbury has introduced a
Domestic Animals Amendment
Bill, currently before the
Legislative Assembly, which
would mean owners of dogs
that caused serious injury in the
ACT could face $14,000 in
fines or up to a year in prison.
However, increased penalties
of up to $70,000 or five years in
prison would come into force
for the owners of dogs that have
been declared dangerous but go
on to cause serious harm.
Under current laws, dog
owners can face a $7000 fine if
their animal harasses by
barking at or scaring a person or
animal. The same penalty is in
place for owners of dogs that
viciously maul a person or
animal. The maximum penalty
for dog harassment and minor
attack offences will remain at
Even though 379 dog attacks
were reported to authorities last
year, a TAMS spokesman said
only 87 infringements relating
to attack or harass had been
WOMAN, 25, DIES IN TWO-CAR
CRASH ON FEDERAL HIGHWAY
A 25-year-old woman has died and another
woman is in a serious but stable condition after
a crash on the Federal Highway on Sunday.
The crash happened shortly before 3.45pm
when two cars travelling south on the Federal
Highway collided near the Wheatley VC rest
area. A woman was flown to Canberra Hospital
where she remained in a serious but stable
condition on Sunday night.
Four other passengers were also injured and
were taken by ambulance to Canberra Hospital.
3 - Tuesday, August 12, 2014
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