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Weight management services
Obesity is associated with serious health problems including diabetes and heart disease. The range of weight management services available to the consumer includes doctors, dietitians, commercial weight loss programs and kilojoule-controlled meals. Consumers should choose their service with care. Many commercial weight loss programs offer safe weight management and lifestyle suggestions to their clients. Others may rely on unproven or unhealthy methods of weight control. Always consult with your doctor before choosing any weight management service.

Consult with your doctor first
Your doctor knows your medical history, and can either advise you on suitable weight loss strategies or recommend a dietitian. If you prefer to use a commercial weight loss program, still talk to your doctor first. Consulting your doctor is especially important if you take any form of prescription medicine or you have a pre-existing condition, such as:

  • Obesity
  • Digestive system disorders such as coeliac disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease, angina or cardiac arrhythmia
  • Diabetes
  • Eating disorder
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Food allergies
  • Thyroid disease
  • Depression
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Gall bladder problems such as gallstones
  • Gout.


Helpful industry bodies
Apart from your doctor, you can consult with industry bodies to help you make a safe choice, including:

Choosing a dietitian
You can contact a dietitian in various ways, including:
  • Your doctor may recommend a suitable dietitian.
  • Your local council can provide a list of local dietitians
  • Use the Better Health Channel services directory to find a dietitian.
  • The Dietitians Association of Australia can give you contact information on dietitians working in private practice.
    Characteristics of a reputable weight management service
    Generally speaking, a good weight management service will:
  • Emphasise improved health, such as lower blood cholesterol and reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease.
  • Focus on the loss of body fat, not just weight.
  • Include regular exercise.
  • Advise against a daily energy intake of less than 5000Kj.
  • Recommend a gradual weight loss of around one kilogram per week.
  • Appreciate input from your doctor or health care professional.
  • Advise on how to improve long term eating and exercise habits.
  • Offer details on all fees and costs of additional items.
  • Give clear information on the refund policy.

Characteristics of a dubious weight management service
Don't use a weight management service that advises you to:
  • Cut out one or more of the major food groups.
  • Replace food with powders or supplements.
  • Use unproven or unsafe equipment such as saunas, passive exercise machines, diuretics and body wraps.
  • Aim for rapid weight loss.
  • Focus on quick weight loss but doesn't include any guidance on how to maintain a healthy weight for the long term.
  • Sign up without being clear about all fees and costs of additional items.
  • Sign up without offering you clear information about their refund policy.
Kilojoule-controlled meal services
According to the Weight Management Code of Practice, a reputable home-delivered meal service should offer:
  • A written health warning about the dangers of rapid weight loss, including the suggestion to consult with your doctor.
  • Detailed written information on the services offered, including delivery arrangements and the nutritional value of the meals.
  • Clear information on all costs, including delivery charges.
  • The option to cancel after seven days, including a pro-rata refund.

Things to remember

  • The range of weight management services available to the consumer includes doctors, dietitians, commercial weight loss programs and kilojoule-controlled meals.
  • Always consult with your doctor before embarking on any weight management service.
  • A reputable weight management service encourages you to lose weight slowly and safely, and offers advice on how to maintain a healthy weight for the long term.

 
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