The most harmful health issues of the future

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Australian health professionals have identified the most harmful health issues of the future which may, or may not, surprise you.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) believes that, on current trends, 70 per cent of Australia’s population will be obese or overweight by 2025.

GPs are urging anyone who is overweight or obese, or has trouble with maintaining a healthy weight, to seek the advice of their doctor before it’s too late.

“Early intervention by a GP plays a key role in an attempt to change the weight gain trajectory that patients with obesity often find themselves on,” said RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel.

“Obesity is a disease and, like other diseases, deserves immediate attention.

“As the first point of contact for most Australians seeking medical attention, GPs are in an unparalleled position to both identify those at risk of developing obesity and initiate treatment for those with established overweight or obesity.”

RACGP’s General Practice: Health of the Nation 2017 report revealed that obesity and complications arising from obesity are major health problems already facing Australians, but it’s only going to get worse in the very near future.

Dr Seidel said that health professionals, the Government and the community should all band together to face this deadly problem head on.

Around 2.7 billion adults worldwide are overweight or obese, with two thirds of Australian adults and one in four schoolchildren falling into this category.

“Sadly, there is a real risk that these children might not outlive their parents,” said Dr Seidel. 

“There is a serious sense of urgency, and the time to act is now.”

While obesity was flagged as one of the most concerning emerging health issues, the most common reason for patient visits is for psychological conditions. In fact, mental health is the most concerning health issue for the future.

Are you surprised that these are the most concerning health issues for the future? What do you belive should be done to arrest the rapid increase in obesity? Do you think enough is being done to handle our mental health issues?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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38 Comments

Total Comments: 38
  1. 0
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    Obesity is not a disease , it causes disease. It’s gluttony , take responsibility for yourself stop telling yourself your the victim of disease and stop force feeding yourself cream cakes.

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      Obesity is both a cause of a disease AND a disease in itself. I’d add that diabetes is equally an epidemic in the West – not helped by sugar and alcohol consumption.

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      I suppose laziness is a disease as well.

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      I’ve got an idea. If fat people stop sitting on their backside filling their face with processed food soft drink and cake I bet your so called disease goes away. It’s a miracle. Amazing it works just like gluttony.

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      An entire population is not glutenous.
      The people who provide our food source are responsible.
      Real food is expensive that is why the poor are more likely to be obese.

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      I don’t agree. Vegetables are cheap , you can even grow them yourself. The story that real food is expensive is wrong. Processed food is expensive and the people who claim good food is expensive are usually the first to waddle into KFC. Which is very expensive. If you buy only natural foods no one can add sugar or interfere with it. It’s your choice to eat food out of a packet.

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      Gluttony is a symptom of a mental health problem – typically depression, which is certainly a disease, Tib. Part of the reason obesity is increasing is because mental health is deteriorating in our society.

      Obesity is not necessarily caused by gluttony, but often just by poor eating habits formed growing up in a society that has become obsessed with fast foods, eating out, and partying and ”treats”. I remember when fizzy drinks and sweets were a Christmas treat, because working families could only afford home-grown vegies, bread, eggs (often from their own chickens), and cheaper cuts of meat on a daily basis. Our simple diets were healthy. Too many today just don’t know how to eat anything that doesn’t come out of a packet or from a restaurant or fast food outlet. Food preparation is a dying art – especially preparation of cheap, simple, healthy food.

  2. 0
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    Years ago the government pulled all the funding from preventative health care and health promotion. Community centres no longer actively educate people as once was the case. Schools no longer teach children how to cook nutritious meals, which means that so many parents now do not know how to do that, hence they feed poor quality food to their children and themselves. Surely this adds to the obesity problem. If the governments resurrected public health promotion and activity taught people how to care for themselves perhaps we would have a healthier population. Yes, I know people should take responsibility for themselves, but so often they don’t do they! Hence teaching the current younger generation a better way to live and take care of their health must be a good starting point surely, just as my cohort generation learned.

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    With the exception of a miniscule minority who may have a genuine pathological condition, people are overweight and obese because of what they choose to put in their mouths. The next time you are in a supermarket, check out the trolleys of different sized people. I would bet that you will see the larger the person pushing the trolley the more processed and junk foods and drinks you will find in it. People who are overweight or obese know they are overweight or obese, they don’t need a GP to tell them. And if the GP did, no doubt the GP would be accused of ‘fat-shaming’ and be publically denounced on social media.Hence the rise in the ‘big is beautiful’ movement.

    As for mental health, this is now ‘flavour of the month’. For the last two or three decades or so we have been systematically stripping away all vestiges of ‘risk-taking’ learning from our kids. Kids can no longer climb trees in case they hurt themselves, you can’t build a kids tree-house because it won’t meet OH&S, teachers cannot mark work in a red pen in case it ‘damages little Johnney’s psyche’,every kid is a ‘winner’ in case the ‘loser’ gets upset, You have to invite the entire class to a kids birthday party in case one or two get left out, you can’t tell a kid ‘No’ in case they get upset, teachers are being forced to do the parent’s job without the luxury of parental authority, teams just play sport there is no score so no winners or losers, every kid gets an ‘award’ which in fact devalues all the awards etc etc etc I could go on and on.

    The upshot of all this ‘concern’ is that we are breeding whole generations of adults with no resilience. They are now people who cannot cope with the normal ups and downs of life. Normal human reactions are now pathologised and medicalised so no-one is worried or nervous, they have ‘anxiety’; no-one is ever just sad, they are ‘depressed’ etc etc. And so now everyone has a mental illness which simply belittles those with a genuine mental problem.

    People need to take responsibility for themselves, put on their big boy and big girl pants and start acting like the adults they are supposed to be and not the child they have remained.

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      Agree completely. It’s also not what kids themselves want. Any child playing in a team sport which doesn’t keep score, still knows which team won. There are no true achievement awards when kids who try their best receive the same recognition as those who just turn up. One of the best gifts you can give a child is to teach them resilience.

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      I agree KSS. I really dislike the fat shaming and big is beautiful BS it’s not helping people it’s just giving people a nice victim tag so they can continue on their way to an early death. In almost all cases being overweight is unhealthy.

    • 0
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      Well said KSS, you get my vote – for what it’s worth.

    • 0
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      Absolutely agree. Even my granddaughter was allowed to eat dirt if she wanted, none of this germ thing, and she was allowed to take risks. Sadly custody disagreements have taken a bit of a toll on her. As for the obesity you are spot on, and another thing to add to it is alcohol, it’s a huge addition to weight gain. Funnily enough, my own weight problem is not eating enough, it’s hard to remember to eat snacks (healthy of course between meals) – I struggle with eating my main meal at lunch time. I know it’s a better way to eat, but it’s a really hard habit to break. Also hard to give up chocolate, but I’m getting there.

  4. 0
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    It’s not that hard to rectify,,, start with the young,,,bring back P E in schools,not every child has the chance or ability to play sports, I visited many Asia European schools who have some form of physical excercise esp beginning of the day. Also each child is greeted by either the head or teacher at the main gate or door once again displaying respect bonding,
    Adults yes there’s the stuff your face I live for food slouch around all day types with no motivation others can’t afford gym fees, walkings free, then there’s the body type which grows as one breaths, im one of these eat to live exercise heading for 70 and the weight is pilling on just like my siblings did,then theres the not so active seniors, they need Dr’s help if only they’d ask.

  5. 0
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    Seek advice of your GP. I tried. All he did was shrug his shoulders and say, ‘It is hard.’

  6. 0
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    Seek advice of your GP. I tried. All he did was shrug his shoulders and say, ‘It is hard.’

  7. 0
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    Obesity comes about from poor diet and lack of exercise. It’s necessary to eat in proportion with your exercise. The main culprits? Sugar – really a toxin – and fast food. There’s an obesity epidemic in India largely because of McDonalds.

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      Not just India. Anywhere where the traditional diet is gradually replaced with a more ‘western’ diet, overweight and obesity and the associated diabetes, CVD etc follow.

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      Its not just sugar. Its trans fats, soy, food with less vitamins than a few decades ago etc etc etc.
      Then stop feeding the kids if you are not the carer. The number of treats at school, in shops, birthday parties, special rewards from grandparents etc etc. It never ends.

  8. 0
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    My big problem with my weight dates partly back to the time when I was in training for Marathons and road racing bicycles. I had to eat a lot just to keep my energy levels up although I was careful with what I ate. No alcohol and no sugar laden food or drinks, lots of vegetables. I now find it hard to keep my food intake down to what is enough for a much less active life. I still eat a sensible diet but the quantity is the problem.

  9. 0
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    Fat people should be made to pay more tax ,
    It should be compulsory for fat people to buy 2 seats onanes and be charged more on public transport
    Tax should be based on your “fat” footprint
    Fat people also contribute disproportionately more to global warming

    • 0
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      Raphael Your attitude is very discriminatory. Sometime genetics can play a part in people being fat. Education of eating properly starts at an early age from the time children are born, If governments want people to be healthy then local councils need to provide more free recreation parks instead of approving developments. People need access to safe walking areas for exercise.

  10. 0
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    Yeh right, just another cop – out where someone else is expected to wear the blame for personal weakness on the part of fatties. Teachers should neither be expected to wet nurse their charges nor police their diet. Individual schools are pretty much just that nowadays in that they operate autonomously – within govt (DepEd) guidelines – to the extent that govt funding shortfalls are expected to be met from community goodwill. Only hearsay mind you, but I’ve been given to understand that in some instances of a voluntary community funding shortfall some schools have resorted to targeted direct charging, ie, the ‘well off’s’ are expected to subsidize the ‘have nots’. Point being, it seems the folk prepared to fulfill their own responsibilities to ensure their kids education are also required to pick up the shortfall for those that cannot. It’s highly unlikely that a govt campaign to “educate” gluttons will result in the mass attendance of fatties at any one of the many slim n trim gym’s.
    So, is govt to blame because predictions suggest that we’re heading for the ultimate fat epidemic in the near future ?
    Two words springs to mind – PERSONAL RESPONSIBILTY – at a time when ‘big brother’ and the ‘nanny state’ are becoming more prevalent, food intake is NOT a matter for any tier of govt or a govt dept. Ultimately, todays’ glutton may well prove to be a future dept of health problem but in the meantime it’s the individual’s responsibility and parents are responsible for their own kids.
    Geese are force fed to enlarge their liver, used to make foie gras, some beef cattle are lot fed to increase muscling for meat, battery hens have restricted movement and ready access to feed/water to promote growth and most modern piggeries operate along the same lines. Mankind – (supposedly) a sentient being – with requisite faculties are supposedly at the top of the food chain. Nobody is force fed or told what to eat or how much to eat. The plethora of; burgers, fizzy drinks, flavoured milks, lollies, pastries, fried chickens, macarons, donuts, oh I’m salivating and need to stop and wipe dribble from my chin, these are NOT dietary necessities. The squeaky clean shops that flog these products are little more than peddlars of death which by my reckoning may eventually be taken to task for serving overweight consumers. Think fag dags vs cigarette companies.
    At the entrance to a few exclusive retail outlets I’ve witnessed spruiker’s or the occasional concierge/doorman whose endeavour is to lure the customer in, but NEVER YET have I witnessed a charmer enticing the unwary into ANY of the many fast food outlets. Quite the contrary, most seem to falling over their own trotters to get their snouts in the trough.

    For those that feel the need for govt involvement then maybe Dept’s Health and local councils need to step up to the plate and demand that all fast food stye’s install weighbridge scales linked to an electronic height beam at entrance doors which instantly calculates BMI. Anyone overweight sets off a visual/audio alarm and auto doors remain closed.
    Breakfast at Tiffany’s anyone ?

    • 0
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      Well written MD. I wholeheartedly concur.

      No doubt you will have your detractors, but as George Orwell once wrote: ” in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act”

    • 0
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      Julian thankyou. Orwell’s quote very apt – his Animal Farm springs to mind given subject matter.

      Viva la revolucio’n.

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