Queensland’s obesity hotspots revealed
TOOWOOMBA has taken out the unenviable title of Queensland's fattest city as new figures show two in three adults and one in four children are overweight or obese.
A study of the state's waistlines has revealed its unhealthiest hot spots amid a push to classify obesity as a disease so doctors can be paid extra to weigh patients and put them on the path to weight loss.
Toowoomba just pipped Townsville, Mount Isa and Ipswich to take the crown - all with obesity rates at 70 or 71 per cent of the population.
The Gold Coast was by far the healthiest, with 40 per cent of people at a healthy weight and just 27 per cent obese.
Children in western Queensland were the most overweight and healthy kids on the Gold Coast took after their parents.
Queensland Health's report lays bare the problems of "weight creep", with most young children at a healthy weight before the kilos creep on in teenage years and then plateau until 80 per cent of middle aged men and women are overweight or obese.
The news comes as Health Minister Steven Miles backs an Australian Medical Association Queensland campaign for the federal Government to change obesity from a "risk factor" to a "disease".
The change would allow GPs to bill Medicare for the creation of patient management plans to treat obesity before it causes diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and other problems.
AMAQ president Dr Dilip Dhupelia said patients with plans could then use Medicare rebates to see dietitians and exercise physiologists before they got sick.
"Obesity causes all of these problems and yet we can't treat obesity on its own," he said as he called on Mr Miles to lobby other health ministers and force federal action.
"We think that should be considered and I support the AMAQ," Mr Miles said.
"There are studies which show that GPs weighing and measuring the waists of patients is really important.
"It can start a conversation about health risks and lifestyle changes.
"Sadly the Medicare freeze has meant many GPs are too rushed to take that extra time with patients."
Mr Miles said he hoped the next elected federal Government would adopt the idea as Queensland aims to reduce childhood obesity and increase adult healthy weight by 10 per cent each.