Healthy Weight For Life
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Medical Benefits of a Healthy Weight


Carrying extra weight can put a lot of strain on our health, bodies and wellbeing. According to the World Health Organisation, a weight loss of up to 10%, for people carrying extra weight, improves blood glucose control, reduces both blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improves lung function and breathlessness, reduces the frequency of sleep apnoea, improves sleep quality, and reduces daytime drowsiness. And can also alleviate osteoarthritis, back and joint pain1.

1WHO Consultation on Obesity (1999: Geneva, Switzerland) Obesity: preventing and managin the global epidemic: report of a WHO consultation. (WHO technical report series; 894).

An enormous number of short and long term health benefits can be achieved with even 5 - 10% weight loss although even greater health benefits can be achieved if enough weight can be lost to return from being overweight or obese to a healthy body mass index range.

Such as

Avoid Type 2 Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes

High Blood Glucose (Prediabetes) is a condition that occurs when sugar levels in the blood are higher than normal but not high enough to be officially diagnosed as diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body stops producing insulin in the amounts adequate to meet the body’s needs or the insulin that is produced doesn’t work properly. People with prediabetes are at significantly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes down the track.

Being overweight or obese is a leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Carrying excess weight makes it difficult for cells to respond to insulin, because the extra fat acts like an insulating layer, making it harder for the sugar to move into cells and resulting in higher circulating blood sugar levels. Progression from prediabetes to diabetes is potentially preventable through weight loss and by maintaining a healthy weight. Studies have shown that weight loss of 7% and moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking for a total of 150 minutes weekly can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by up to 58% 1.


  1. Knowler WC, Barrett-Connor E, Fowler SE, Hamman RF, Lachim Jm, Walker EA, Nathan DM; Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Intervention or Metformin. N Engl J Med 2002; 346 (6):394-403.

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Improved Blood Glucose Control

Complications of diabetes occur mainly due to poorly controlled high blood glucose (sugar) levels. Rates of chronic heart disease, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, blindness and amputations of lower limbs are all higher in type 2 diabetics (T2D) than in non-T2D patients all as a direct result of damage caused to blood vessels by high sugar levels.

By maintaining good control over blood sugar levels, T2D patients can prevent or at the very least delay the development of some of these complications of diabetes by maintaining tight control over blood glucose levels1. A joint study conducted by the CSIRO and University of Adelaide reported highly significant and simultaneous improvements in HbA1c (medium term indicator of blood glucose control) with weight loss using KicStart™ in a group of obese diabetic subjects over a 12 week lifestyle intervention 2


  1.  UK Prospective Diabetes Study. Intensive blood-glucose control with sulphonylureas or insulin copared with coventional treatment and risk of complications in patients with type 2 diabetes. Lancet 1998;352:837-53.
  2. Wycherley, Brinkworth, Noakes et al. Effect of calorific restriction with and without exercise training on oxidative stress and endothelial function in obese subjects with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 2008.

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Stay Heart Healthy

Two of the major risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Studies indicate that the accumulation of excess body fat releases certain naturally occurring chemicals into the bloodstream that causes blood pressure to rise and being overweight causes the liver to produce excessive amounts of LDL cholesterol.

LDL (low density lipoprotein, sometimes called “bad cholesterol”) tends to be sticky and lines or accumulates in the walls of blood vessels leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

As weight is lost, blood pressure often diminishes and the amount of LDL the liver produces is reduced. Results from a Royal Adelaide Hospital study on cardiovascular improvements with weight loss using KicStart™, showed a 10% reduction in LDL levels, a 12% reduction in total cholesterol, an 8% reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 5% reduction in diastolic blood pressure 1.


  1. Piantadosi C, Worthley M, McAinch A, Witter G, Worthley S. Effects of obesity and diet induced weight loss on cardiovascular risk factors, vascular and ventricular structure and function in obese men. Presented to the American College of Cardiology 2007.

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Improved Sleep

Snoring is caused by a narrowing of the airway, obstructing air movement and creating the characteristic “snore”. Overweight people tend to have more soft tissue in the neck which increases the incidence of snoring. Snoring can be a symptom of a potentially life-threatening condition called sleep apnoea - where breathing becomes completely obstructed and requires the sleeper to awaken to begin breathing again.

A person with sleep apnoea wakes many times a night but often remembers nothing about these episodes. The detrimental health effects of the resulting sleep and oxygen deprivation include a compromised immune system, heart disease, high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction, and memory problems.

Losing weight reduces the amount of fatty tissue in the back of the throat and decreases snoring. Maintaining a healthy weight encourages better quality sleep and reduces the risk of developing sleep apnoea. A longitudinal study in the US wa conducted to measure how weight change affected the  severity of sleep apnoea. They found a 10% weight loss predicted a 26% decrease in the number of apnoea events per hour 1. A large randomized study on the effects of weight loss on sleep apnoea in obese patients with type 2 diabetes found that those who lost weight were three times more likely to nearly eliminate the number of sleep apnea episodes compared to those who did not lose weight2. Participants with a weight loss of 10 kg or more had the greatest reductions in sleep apnoea episodes per hour.


  1.  Peppard PE, Young T, Palta M, Dempsey J, Skatrud J. Longitudinal Study of Moderate Weight
    Change and Sleep-Disordered Breathing. JAMA. 2000;284:3015-3021.
  2. Foster et al. A Randomized Study on the Effect of Weight Loss on Obstructive Sleep Apnea Among Obese Patients With Type 2 Diabetes-The Sleep AHEAD Study. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(17):1619-1626.

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Mobile and pain-free Joints

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disorder causing bone and cartilage (the tissue that protects the joints) to wear away1. As a result, the joints become swollen and tender and movement becomes very painful. Being overweight increases the load placed on the weight bearing joints eg knees & hips.  It is estimated that a force of between three to six times your body weight is exerted across the knee while walking so an increase in body weight of 10 kg increases the force on the knees equivalent to carrying an extra 30 to 60 kgs2.

Even a loss of just 5 % of body weight can decrease the amount of stress on knees, hips, and lower back, and reduce pain. (Remember a 5kg loss would equate to 15 to 30kgs less force on the knees). Wheras a loss of 10% of body weight has shown a 28% improvement in symptoms of knee osteoarthritis3.


  1. Creamer P, Hochberg MC: Osteoarthritis. Lancet 1997;350:503-508.
  2. Felson DT: Weight and osteoarthritis. J.Rheumatol. 1995;43:7-9.
  3. Christensen et al: Weight loss: the treatment of choice for knee osteoarthritis? A randomized trial. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 2005; 13(1):20-27

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Improved Energy and Vitality

The physical health benefits of attaining and sustaining a healthy weight are well known but what often surprises people are the psychological benefits. Studies have shown that weight loss appears to greatly enhance quality of life1 and is associated with increased self-esteem and lower rates of depression2 .


  1. Fontaine K.R.; Barofsky I.; Andersen R.E; Bartlett S.J.; Wiersema L.; Cheskin L.J.; Franckowiak S.C. Impact of weight loss on Health-Related Quality of Life Quality of Life Research, Volume 8, Number 3, May 1999 , pp. 275-277
  2. Blaine BE; Rodman J; Newman JM. Weight Loss Treatment and Psychological Well-being. Journal of Health Psychology, Vol. 12, No. 1, 66-82 (2007)

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Improved Fertility

Epidemiological evidence clearly shows that being obese has an adverse effect on reproduction 1,2. The mechanisms underlying the relationship between obesity and infertility are unclear but it has been suggested that carrying excess body fat can cause disturbances in sex hormone metabolism that produce menstrual disturbances and thus subfertility 3,4.

Being overweight during pregnancy has been reported to increase rates of miscarriage and medical complications, specifically pregnancy-induced hypertension, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, thromboembolism and sleep apnoea. Deliveries in obese women have been reported to be complicated by higher rates of labour induction, caesarean section, and difficult labour due to increased size of the baby 5,6,7,8. In addition, the babies of overweight and obese women are more likely to require admission to neonatal intensive care and to have congenital abnormalities such as neural tube and cardiac defects. Birth-related injuries and foetal death in utero are also higher in this group, and babies are more likely to be of large birth weight, placing them at risk of birth trauma and possible subsequent childhood (and, indeed, lifelong) obesity 9,10.

There has been very few studies to date regarding the reproductive consequences of weight loss in obese women suffering from infertility. In the one cohort study that has investigated this issue, the authors showed that even a small weight loss (an average of 6.3 kg) in anovulatory obese infertile women, achieved in a group setting over a 6 month period, resulted in an improvement in ovulation, pregnancy rate and pregnancy outcome, self-esteem and endocrine parameters 11.


  1. Loveland JB, McClamrock HD, Malinow AM, Sharara FI. Increased body mass index has a deleterious effect on in vitro fertilization outcome. J Assist Reprod Gen 2001; 18(7): 382-386.
  2. Wang JX, Davies M, Norman RJ. Body mass and probability of pregnancy during assisted reproduction treatment: retrospective study. BMJ 2000; 321: 1320-1321.
  3. Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Bergiele A. The influence of obesity on hyperandrogenism and infertility in the female. Obes Rev 2001; 2: 231-238.
  4. Pasquali R, Pelusi C, Genghini S, Cacciari M, Gambineri A. Obesity and reproductive disorders in women. Hum Reprod 2003; 9(4): 359-372.
  5. Wang JX, Davies M, Norman RJ. Obesity increases the risk of spontaneous abortion during infertility treatment. Obes Res 2002; 10: 551-554.
  6. Nicolas JE, Crane MM, Higdon HL, Miller PB, Boone WR. Extremes of body mass index reduce in vitro fertilization pregnancy rates. Fertil Steril 2003; 645-647.
  7. Andreasen KR, Andersen ML, Schantz AL. Obesity and pregnancy. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2004; 83: 1022-1029.
  8. Yu CKH, Teoh TG, Robinson S. Obesity in pregnancy. BJOG: An Int J Obestet Gynecol 2006; 113: 1117-1125.
  9. Lu GC, Rouse DJ, DuBard M, Cliver S, Kimberlin D, Hauth JC. The effect of the increasing prevalence of maternal obesity on perinatal morbidity. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2001; 185: 845-849.
  10. Dietl J. Maternal obesity and complications during pregnancy. J Perinat Med 2005; 33: 100-105.
  11. Clark AM, Ledger W, Galletly C, Tomilson L, Blaney F, Wang X, Norman RJ. Weight loss results in significant improvement in pregnancy and ovulation rates in anovulatory obese women. Hum Reprod 1995; 10(10); 2705-2712.

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