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Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, Adolescents and Children in Australia

Page last updated: 29 August 2013

In Australia, more than 60% of adults and around 25% of children are classified as being overweight or obese. To assist in improving the health outcomes of those who are overweight or obese, the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing funded the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to review and update the Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, Adolescents and Children in Australia. It is intended that the Guidelines, which were released in May 2013, be used by clinicians including general practitioners, primary health care nurses, primary health care professionals and allied health professionals.

The Guidelines are a result of a comprehensive assessment of the current scientific evidence. They provide detailed, evidence based guidance for clinicians to assess and manage overweight and obesity, and give specific advice on weight management for:

  • adults and adolescents aged more than 18 years who have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 kg/m2 and are at risk of, or have, one or more overweight or obesity-related comorbidities;
  • children and adolescents aged between 2 and 18 years who have a BMI greater than the 85th percentile according to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO) percentile charts; and
  • infants and children under 2 years of age who demonstrate rapid weight gain as assessed using WHO growth charts.
The key messages for clinicians treating adults:
  • Measure waist circumference in addition to calculating BMI.
  • Discuss readiness to change lifestyle behaviours.
  • Convey the message that even small amounts of weight loss improve health and wellbeing.
  • Refer appropriately to assist people to make lifestyle changes or for further intervention.
  • Use multidisciplinary approaches – these work better than single interventions.
  • Support a self-management approach and provide ongoing monitoring.
The key messages for clinicians treating adolescents and children:
  • Use BMI charts to monitor growth.
  • Promote physical activity, dietary modification and healthy behaviours to families.
  • Aim for weight maintenance rather than weight loss.
  • Refer for further assessment and specialist assistance with lifestyle interventions if warranted.
  • Encourage reduced sitting time.

Image of front cover of Clinical Practice Guidelines for Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, Adolescents and Children in Australia

PDF printable version of Clinical Practice Guidelines for Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, Adolescents and Children in Australia – updated 2013

PDF printable version of Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, Adolescents and Children in Australia – Systematic Review

If you are having difficulty downloading the PDF document(s) please email us and we will arrange for an alternative format or a copy to be sent to you.

Publication number: N57
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