Dr Ramy Bishay, staff specialist endocrinologist at Blacktown Hospital’s Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, knows just how hard it is to overcome obesity having slashed his weight from a whopping 120kg to 75kg.
Having personally walked the weight loss journey, he is now driving the fight against the obesity epidemic in western Sydney.
Residents in the area suffer from one of the highest rates of obesity and overweight in the country, at 64.7 per cent, with Mt Druitt and Whalan having the highest rate of childhood obesity in the country at 33 per cent. Dr Bishay said the reasons for this rate of obesity are complex.
“Easy access and affordability of calorie-dense food, aggressive marketing of fast food chains, transport issues, sugar-sweetened drinks and adoption of a sedentary lifestyle are all contributing factors,” said Dr Bishay.
“This issue can’t be ignored as obesity and overweight dramatically impact your health. An unhealthy BMI can shave anywhere from 10 to 20 years off your life.
“A person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes increase by more than 6 times for people who are overweight or obese, compared with that of someone of a healthy weight.
“Excess weight also doubles, even triples, your chance of developing cardiovascular disease and is now the fastest growing reason for chronic liver disease – the number one reason for liver transplantation.”
From 1995 – 2015, Australians have put on an extra 4kg, on average and it will take a whole-of-community effort to reduce this.
“As a formerly very obese person myself nearly 10 years ago, I know how hard it is to overcome, but I didn’t give up,” said Dr Bishay.
“I had no surgery, special diets or pills. I did things the hard way without much intervention and lost 45kg with the help of my family.
“What I did wish I had though, was a program like the one we have created in Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and even better, a caring and informed GP who could manage my obesity,” he said.
“At WSLHD we are bridging the gap in obesity treatment to improve the lives of residents.
“For too long we’ve relied on tertiary hospitals to deliver all the obesity management across our community, but this is unsustainable given the prevalence of obesity.
“Primary care physicians and allied health professionals in the community are at the forefront of the obesity problem and play an important role in helping to solve the problem,” he said.
Putting his passion into action, Dr Bishay has teamed up with key partners including Western Sydney Diabetes, the Blacktown General Practitioners Association and the Western Sydney Primary Health Network, to host an Obesity Symposium.
An initiative of the Western Sydney Collaborative Approach, the partnership aims to tackle the obesity issue in a unified way involving tertiary clinicians, General Practitioners, dietitians, psychologists, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, nurses, and carers.
If you’re a medical and allied health professional, are involved in the direct care of people with health issues related to obesity, then mark this event in your diary and don’t miss out on your chance to find out more and play a role in the obesity fight.
“If we fail to prevent obesity, or treat it when we see it, we are all contributing to the problem.
“We need to be on the offensive and tackle this heath crisis head-on,” said Dr Bishay.
Event details are as follows:
When: May 21, 2019, 5:30pm-8:30pm
Where: University of Western Sydney Auditorium, Blacktown Hospital Campus, Blacktown Road, Blacktown
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org by May 15.
Thanks to event sponsors iNova Pharmaceuticals, Novo Nordisk, AstraZeneca and Nestle Health Science.