Featured in the Gold Coast Sun newspaper.
By Laura Nelson
Husband and wife surgeons Dr Jacobus and Dr Nova Jordaan, have launched a campaign to fight the alarming rise in obesity on the Gold Coast.
They believe changing the public’s perception of obesity is vital as obesity overtakes smoking as the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death in Australia.
According to the National Health Performance Authority, the Gold Coast is above the national overweight or obese rate of 63 per cent and a recent obesity summit hosted by Gold Coast Health identified at least 80,000 residents with obesity.
A specialist surgeon, Dr Jacobus Jordaan is the new principal researcher at the Gold Coast Private Hospital for the independent Bariatric Surgery Registry of Australia and he said obesity had been well established as a cause of diabetes, heart disease and infertility.
“It has now been linked to 13 types of cancer, including colorectal and breast cancer. These illnesses are becoming all too common in our society,” he warned. “Obesity is no longer considered a cosmetic issue caused by overeating and a lack of self-control. The World Health Organisation recognises it as a chronic progressive disease that results from genetic and multi-environmental factors.”
Dr Jordaan said although lifestyle choices could affect a chronic disease, research showed people suffering with obesity could not just eat well and exercise to lose a large amount of weight.
“They need clinical intervention and medical treatment, but often feel too judged to ask for it,” he said.
Dr Jordaan oversees the collection and submission of data to the Bariatric Registry of Australia, which tracks the results of each surgeon, procedure and device, looking at weight change, diabetes resolution, complications and re-operations.
The Jordaans’ campaign, Start the Conversation, aims to educate the community on the impact of obesity while encouraging people to talk to their GPs about treatment.
“Generally, if you have a body mass index of over 30, you have obesity. If the weight isn’t coming off with diet and exercise, it’s time to start a conversation with your GP about what else you can do,” Dr Jordaan said.