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06 Sep 2019

Health trumps appearance when it comes to what motivates people to lose weight, according to new CSIRO research.

A survey of more than 3,000 Australians has revealed that two out of three people start a diet because of health concerns rather than wanting to look better.

Survey respondents were CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet (TWD) online members, with half of them also reporting improvements in chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, when losing weight through a scientifically developed diet.

TWD respondents also reported using fewer prescription medicines the longer they stuck with the diet. Savings averaged about $270 per year.

CSIRO Research Scientist and report co-author Dr Gilly Hendrie described the findings as very hopeful for the millions of Australians affected by obesity and chronic health conditions.

“Almost nine out of 10 survey respondents who were largely overweight or obese reported a pre-existing health condition at the commencement of the program, while 43 per cent had been diagnosed with three or more chronic health conditions,” she said.

The most commonly reported health issues among the respondents were high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arthritis, mental illness, asthma, chronic body pain and pre-diabetes.

“Our analysis showed that after following the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet program, more than half of those with pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol reported an improvement in their health conditions,” Dr Hendrie said.

“Almost half with high blood pressure, sleep apnoea and mental health also reported an improvement. Obesity is a major contributor to many chronic diseases and symptoms – around four out of five people who reported conditions such as diabetes, pre-diabetes and sleep apnoea were classified as obese.”


Published: 06 Sep 2019