Weight Loss & Obesity News | Oclinic North Shore Sydney NSW


This section of our website highlights the latest news and breakthroughs in weight loss management and obesity. It is constantly updated as new information becomes available. If you wish to comment, please email us.

Joe Hockey has Gastric Sleeve surgery

We congratulate shadow treasurer Joe Hockey for the positive step he has taken toward overcoming his weight struggle and improving his health by having the Sleeve Gastrectomy procedure. Joe has already lost 20kg in just a few weeks following his successful procedure.
click here for more details (added Jan 2013)

LapBand surgery leads to long term weight loss even after hiccups

A landmark research project into the long term success of the gastric band from Melbourne has shown that patients maintain an average loss of 26kg 10 years after gastric banding surgery. This research confirms that gastric banding surgery leads to long term weight control.
click here to read the article (added Jan 2013)

Support groups

Want to get better weight loss, or a bit stuck mid-way along your weight loss journey? Attend a support group! Moderated by our psychologist Dr Sonia Haggman, support groups are a great way to get back on track. Topics include emotional eating, head hunger, breaking old habits, and relapse prevention. Studies show that people who attend support groups lose more weight than those that don’t. OClinic support groups are held on Monday evenings in our main offices at 21 Gillies st Crows Nest. Please register by email or telephone. Click here to see the list of upcoming support group dates.

Sandy’s amazing loss of 120kg with the LapBand

We congratulate Sandy from Melbourne who lost an amazing 120kg with the help of the LapBand. Sandy had the Lapband fitted 6 years ago, and weighted 192kg before the procedure. Like many people with morbid obesity, she had tried many diets before this without success. Life was miserable, and her health outlook was bleak. She now weighs a very healthy 71.8kg! click here to watch her story which aired on A Current Affair on 14 June 2012
(added June 2012)

Proposed changes to the Medical expenses rebate scheme: Budget 2012

Changes to the medical expenses rebate scheme have been announced by treasurer Wayne Swan in the 2012 Budget- it is proposed that the rebate shceme be means tests. Under the current arrangement this rebate, equivalent to 20 cents for every dollar in out-of-pocket costs over $2,000 is not means tested. The proposed changes, if passed by parliament, are scheduled to come into effect from 1 July 2012
(added May 2012)

Bariatric surgery better than medication for the treatment of diabetes

An just-published American study has shown that bariatric (weightloss) surgery is far more likely to result in remission of type-2 diabetes than intensive medical therapy. Click here to listen to the medical update courtesy of MDFM.
(added March 2012)

The Obesity Gene may be more common than first thought

The FTO gene, which stands for “fat mass and obesity-associated gene” may be more prevalent than first thought. Discovered in 2007, the FTO gene may be carried by up to 65% of Caucasians, and 44% of Asian people. Carrying this gene increases the risk of developing a serious weight problem by 12%. However it has been recently discovered that regular physical exercise can reduce the risk of a person who carries this gene will develop obesity by up to 30%.
click here to read the full story
(added Dec 2011)

Golfer John Daly’s Gastric Band success

American Golf pro John Daly is once again in Sydney. John had Gastric Banding surgery 3 years ago in the United States to help him control his weight- at the time of his surgery he weighed in at 135kg and was facing a bleak health outlook. 3 years later his weight is stable at 94kg, a good weight for his tall frame, and John is living life to the max. His 19-year old daughter (17 at the time of her surgery) has also had the LapBand and has lost 60kgs.
click here to read the story
(added Nov 2011)

Diet and exercise alone are just not enough

A recent article published in the Sydney Morning Herald looks at why diet and exercise just aren’t enough by themselves to combat obesity. “Studies suggest obese adults who modified their diet and exercise lost less than five kilograms within two to seven years, while those who took who had surgery reported weight loss of 25-75 kilograms within two to four years of the (gastric banding) procedure”. The article points toward the underlying genetic basis for obesity, and quotes a number of leading Australian experts who are calling for weightloss surgery to be made more available to the community, especially those with diabetes.
to read more click here
(added October 2011)

Gastric Band use expanded by the American FDA to now include the treatment of mild obesity (BMI 30-35)

The United States (US) Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is joining Australia in the battle of the bulge by approving the gastric band for use in obese adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) as low as 30 and one obesity-related condition. Australia was the first in the Asia-Pacific region to recently approve the gastric band for use in people with a BMI over 35 or a BMI greater than 30 with at least one serious, obesity-related condition. For the first time, adults across the whole obesity spectrum who have failed conventional weight loss measures (diet, exercise and medication) can access this clinically effective, long-term, weight loss option.

According to Professor Paul O’Brien, Head of the Centre for Obesity Research and Education (CORE) at Monash University, Melbourne, broader use of the gastric band among obese adults will have a significant and positive effect on health in Australia and the US. “We know that serious, obesity-related health complications have already begun by the time a BMI of 30 is reached, which is the lower limit of obesity. The gastric band was previously available to those with a BMI of at least 35 and one serious, obesity-related condition. Until now, obese people with a BMI under 35 who carry significant health risks have had limited options to improve their health when other conventional weight loss measures, such as diet and exercise, have failed,” said Prof O’Brien.

“If left untreated, research shows that these people will likely remain obese,2 placing themselves in danger of developing serious health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. While these simpler, non-surgical options should certainly form part of all initial weight loss attempts, we know with confidence from our Australian clinical data, that gastric banding is a viable, effective option for people unable to maintain weight loss with conventional methods,” Prof O’Brien said.

“In one of our landmark studies that contributed to the FDA’s decision to expand the indication for the gastric band, those who had mild-to-moderate obesity (BMI 30-35) showed very clear benefits with the gastric band compared to a matched group who received the best conventional weight loss treatment,” said Prof O’Brien. At two years after entry into the study, the gastric banding patients had lost an average of 87 per cent of their excess weight compared to those who followed a conventional program and lost just 21 per cent of their excess weight through diets, improved eating habits, and increased exercise and lifestyle changes.

“The broader indication for the gastric band across the whole adult obesity spectrum will allow Australia and the US to lead the way in the fight against obesity”

click here to read more (added Feb 2011)

Obesity is hereditary- stop blaming yourself

Finally the world is waking up! Obesity is a chronic medial condition just like epilepsy, asthma, or diabetes. It is often hereditary. People who suffer from obesity often punish themselves with self blame. This is inappropriate. The medical world views obesity as simply a condition whereby a persons energy regulation system is faulty, resulting in a chronic energy imbalance. Fortunately effective treatment now exists- Procedures such as gastric banding and the sleeve gastrectomy help to correct this imbalance by making a person feel less hungry, and full with smaller protions. Patients still must play their part by making healthier food choices and doing regular exercise in order to overcome the condition.

click here to read the article published in the Sydney Morning Herald (added Jan 2011)

Does a big breakfast really help you lose weight?

Many people believe that a big breakfast is an essential part of a weightloss diet. It is commonly believed that eating breakfast helps to speed up a persons metabolism, and results in requiring fewer calories at lunch and dinner, thereby lowering the overall calorie intake for the day.

Recent research at the University of Munich has shown that this belief is incorrect- a study involving 400 people demonstrated that those who ate a big breakfast did not eat less for lunch or dinner, and ended up consuming an additional 400 extra calories per day, whilst those who skipped breakfast altogether had overall fewer calories leading to better weight loss.

We encourage our patients to just eat when they feel hungry- Patients with a gastric band usually do not feel hungry in the morning, and often force themselves to eat breakfast in the belief that it is important for successful weightloss- remember the needs of an obese person are different; the key to successful weightloss is minimising calorie intake. You already have plenty of stored energy on board. So its ok to skip breakfast! Just eat when hungry, focus on small, protein rich meals, keep up your water intake, take a mulitvitamin each day, and try to do a little bit of regular exercise. Patients who follow this strategy almost universally to well.

click here to read the article (added Jan 2011)

The advantages and Disadvantages of Gastric banding

Read the article, written by OClinic Surgeon Dr Craig Taylor, about the Advantages and Disadvantages of Gastric Banding. It appears in the current edition of the respected medical journal Cardiology in General Practice (Vol 12 pages 16-17).

Click here for the article. (added 8 July 2010)

Three health funds restrict access to Gastric banding surgery to ‘top cover’ premiums

Three Australian health funds, namely NIB, AHM, and Manchester Unity, have announced that they will restrict access to Gastric Banding surgery to members with top cover. Previously these three health funds allowed all members to undergo obesity surgery without imposing any additional premium. This new policy, to take effect from 1 June, actually equates to discrimination against obesity sufferers, as it amounts to an ‘obesity premium’ if members wish to have obesity surgery covered.

Its important to note that the majority of Australian health funds remain committed to weightloss surgery, and have not announced any changes to their coverage. Medibank Private, MBF, and HCF, as well as many of the Alliance health funds (such as Defence health, Teachers heath, etc) are to be congratulated on their continued support.

Obesity surgery is one of the most widely studied types of medical intervention performed- all the available research has consistently shown major health benefits, lifespan improvement, and a better quality of life for people with obesity. It has also been shown to be highly cost effective for the community, as the costs of managing diabetes, heart disease, etc are substantially reduced, and obesity sufferers can re-enter or take better advantage of employment opportunities.

We urge members of any health fund that does not cover gastric banding to consider changing to other health funds that do. A useful resource is www.iselect.com.au

Members of NIB, AHM, and Manchester Unity funds can still have gastric banding covered under their existing policy if their surgery booking is made before 1 June. (The surgery date itself can be performed any time up to 1 Dec). If this applies to you, please let our reception staff know when you call so that we can help you meet this deadline.

click here to read the Sydney Morning Herald article. Incidentally the patient depicted in the story, Cassandra Farhart, was operated upon by Dr Taylor in 2008. (added 20 May 2010)

Michelle Obama launches major push to tackle rising childhood obesity in the US

Michelle Obama has launched a major initiative to help tackle the rising crisis of childhood obesity in the United States, where 1 in every 3 children are now overweight or obese. The obesity rate amongst American children tripled between 1980 and 1999, leading to fears the American health system may not be able to cope with the anticipated rise in health related expenses.

click here to read more (added 12 Feb 2010)

Australian study supports Gastric Banding in teenagers

A landmark study published in this month’s edition of the respected medical journal JAMA found that gastric banding surgery was far more effective than diets and exercise in treating obesity in teenagers.

The government-funded randomised controlled study by Melbourne’s Professor Paul O’Brien involved 50 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 years. All participants had a body mass index of at least 35, and 40% already had developed the Metabolic Syndrome. 84% of the gastric banded teenagers lost at least half of their excess weight compared with just 12% of those in the diet and exercise group. The Metabolic Syndrome had resolved in all of the teenagers who had gastric bands. Whilst one third of those in the gastric banded group underwent a revisional procedure, this was to correct  relatively minor problems- there were no serious complications or deaths.

At OClinic we are happy to consider gastric banding surgery on teenagers aged 14 and above provided they are competent and mature enough to make an informed decision, and have the complete support of their parents and physicians. click here to read more about the teenage gastric banding study (added 12 Feb 2010)

Channel 9 News segment on teenage girls having weightloss surgery

A segment on the increased number of teenage girls undergoing gastric banding was aired on channel 9′s evening news on Tuesday 9 Feb 2010. One of the patients who featured on the program was 17 year old OClinic patient Samantha Fulop who underwent gastric banding by Dr Taylor in September 2008. Samantha has lost 40kg since her surgery 15 months ago and is extremely happy with her life now- she feels much more confident, and importantly, now has a brighter health outlook. We congratulate Samantha on her achievement- she is a shining example of the results that can be achieved when motivated patients enter into a partnership with our clinic. We are seeing an increasing number of younger patients who are looking for help overcoming obesity. Our minimum age requirement is 14years, but it is important that any decision to undergo surgical weight management is made carefully after taking into consideration the severity of the weight problem, health impacts, and maturity to participate fully in ongoing aftercare. As with all forms of weightloss surgery, gastric banding is not a miracle cure and still requires significant personal effort and ongoing participation in clinic aftercare for good results. (added 11 Feb 2010)

Choice Magazine reviews Gastric Banding

The independent consumer group ‘Choice‘ has published its review on gastric banding surgery in its January 2010 edition. Whilst all surgical procedures carry some risks, patients who underwent gastrtic banding surgery were less likely to die prematurely than those who didn’t. We agree with Choice that comprehensive and ongoing aftercare is important to enable patients to achieve best results. click here to redirect to the Choice review. (added 11 Feb 2010)

Weightloss pill Reductil dangerous and banned in Europe

The popular weightloss pill Reductil (made by Abbott Laboratories and also called sibutramine) has been banned in Europe and is under review here in Australia following new evidence that it may increase the risk of heart attack in people with cardiovascular disease.  The Australian regulatory authority, the TGA, has received over 200 reports of adverse reactions to Reductil since its introduction into the Australian market, including possible links to the death of a 19 year old patient. click here for the full story  (added 24 Jan 2010)

Visiting Professor Stephen O’Rahilly speaks on genes and obesity at Sydney’s Garvan institute

World leading obesity expert Professor Stephen O’Rahilly from Cambridge University has recently visited Sydney to take part in a Symposium on obesity and diabetes held at the Garvan Institute of medical Research. “I think that health care workers need to understand that genetics are a major reason for obesity, and avoid being judgmental in the face of the growing evidence,” he said in one interview. “Poor diet and lack of exercise take much of the blame for these statistics; however research is now telling us that genes play a major role, perhaps even the major role, in determining a person’s body size,” Professor O’Rahilly says. click here for the full story.  (added 15 Dec 2009)

Another Obesity gene discovered

A study involving 300 children with severe obesity by the University of Cambridge has uncovered a gene on chromosome 16 that has a strong link with severe obesity. Researcher Dr Sadaf Farooqi said: “Our results suggest that one particular gene on chromosome 16 called SH2B1 plays a key role in regulating weight and also in handling blood sugar levels. “People with deletions involving this gene had a strong drive to eat and gained weight very easily. “It adds to the growing weight of evidence that a wide range of genetic variants can produce a strong drive to eat. This latest research adds yet another gene to the growing list of genes linked with obesity. It is becoming increasingly clear that obesity is a genuine medical disorder with an underlying genetic basis, and that the perceptions of obesity being caused simply by poor lifestyle choices must now change in light of the emerging evidence.

click here for the BBC news clip. (added 15 Dec 2009)

Breast cancer link with obesity

Australian researchers have discovered a critical link between obesity and the risk of developing breast cancer. Scientists at Melbourne’s Prince Henry Institute have found that fat cells stimulate production of the hormone oestrogen, a known stimulator of the growth of some forms of breast cancer cells. In obese females, oestrogen production is overstimulated, increasing the risk of developing breast cancer. Previous research from The MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Texas has shown that overweight breast cancer patients are more likely to have a more aggressive form of the disease and die sooner. But on a positive note, another major study has found that weightloss surgery can reduce an obese person’s risk of dying from cancer by 38%. click here to read about the Prince Henry Institute link between obesity and breast cancer click here for the MD Anderson study on obesity and more aggressive forms of breast cancer click here to read about the links being discovered between obesity and other forms of cancer cllick here for the Swedish Obesity Study linking weightloss surgery to reduced cancer mortality.

Golfer John Daly sheds 52kg after gastric banding

American Golfer John Daly, who is currently in Sydney to play in the Australian Open, is 52kg lighter following his gastric banding procedure earlier this year. During his visit he underwent a saline adjustment to his gastric band at a well known Sydney obesity clinic.  “It’s the first time in a long time the wind has pushed me around!” he quipped after playing the first round in gusty Southerly winds. click here to follow John’s progress in the Australian open  (added 10 Dec 2009)

Response to Channel 7 ‘Sunday Night’ program which aired on 15 November2009 concerning complications after LapBand surgery

A patient who had suffered complications after his gastric banding procedure was presented. A 202kg patient, who had his procedure performed in Tasmania, required multiple operations to repair an injury to his bowel which occurred during his gastric banding procedure. Whilst complications can occur with any surgical procedure, fortunately these risks are rare following gastric banding, well under 1%. The vast majority of patients undergo their procedure safely, especially when their procedure is performed by clinics such as OClinic that specialise in bariatric surgery. Obesity itself carries significant risks to health and well being, and shortens a persons lifespan. That is why it is acceptable for a patient to undergo weightloss surgery such as the LapBand, where the risks involved are far lower than the risks of leaving obesity untreated. A landmark study from Sweden (the SOS study) revealed that patients who underwent weightloss surgery had a 38% reduction in their risk of dying from cancer, and a 48% reduction in their risk of dying due to a heart attack compared with obesity patients who did not have surgery. click here to watch the segment (added 18 Nov 2009)

Gastric banding Explained- Multidisciplinary care is essential

The importance of multidisciplinary aftercare following gastric banding is outlined in the current edition of the ‘San Doctor’. Written by Dr Taylor of OClinic, this is the first time an article concerning surgical management of obesity has been published in the San Doctor, a bimonthly publication of the Sydney Adventist Hospital with a circulation of approximately 1200 General Practitioners and Specialists. The article highlights the importance of regular patient follow-up after gastric banding, and how outcomes can be significantly improved by providing patient care in a dedicated gastric banding environment by a team of specialists including dietitians, psychologists, surgeons and physicians.      click here to view the article

Parliamentary committee recommends obesity surgery be performed in public hospitals

Once again calls have been made to make obesity surgery more widely available to people without private health insurance. This further recognises the genuine health benefits associated with obesity surgery. The prevalence of obesity has recently increased even further in Australia from 1 in 5 to 1 in 4 adults, and is estimated to cost the health system $8 billion. Obesity surgery is still not available under Medicare in NSW public hospitals.  source: google news

AMA recommends obesity surgery trial be performed in Victorian public hospitals

The Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association has lobbied the Victorian government to commence a $20million trial of obesity surgery in 5 Victorian public hospitals to combat the obesity epidemic. source: The Age newspaper 

Royal Australian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Congress

Hundreds of surgeons from around Australia and New Zealand have once again converged for the Annual Scientific Congress, held this year in Brisbane. The 3-day bariatric (weight-loss) surgery section was amongst the most well attended part of the meeting, and featured several distinguished guest visitors from around the world including Dr Gerhard Prager (Austria), Dr Simon Dextor (UK), Dr Christine Ren (USA) and Dr George Fielding (USA).

source: asc.surgeons.org

OSSANZ Cairns 2009

the Obesity Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand annual weight-loss surgical congress. The annual 4-day congress to discuss surgery for obesity was held this year in Cairns. Over 230 delegates from all over the Asia Pacific attended including obesity surgeons, dietitians, nurses, and psychologists. Whilst OSSANZ has had annual meetings over the past 22 years, this meeting was combined with the inaugural meeting of the IFSO-ASIA PACIFIC chapter, resulting in a number of surgeons attending from India, China, Korea, and Japan.

source: www.ossanzconference.com.au

Childhood obesity is not a result of kids watching too much TV

Although the incidence of childhood obesity is increasing, it is not because kids watch too much TV or play computer games- indeed there is no evidence that today’s children do any less sport or physical activity than in previous generations. Rather, obesity arises from a genetic tendency, which is becoming unmasked at an earlier age because of the increased availability of fast food and high energy snacks.

source: www.smh.com.au

Obesity and diabetes- The link is even stronger than previously thought

Type 2 diabetes is now caused by excessive weight in nearly one-quarter of cases- much more than previously thought. Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to infections, blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, amputation, and loss of feeling in hands and feet. Weight-loss surgery has been consistently shown to be able to reverse diabetes or at the very least prevent further deterioration

source: www.smh.com.au

Obesity linked to migraines

Migraines are experienced more frequently in people carrying excess weight. Whether this is due to poor oxygenation during sleep as a result of snoring or sleep apnoea, or due to other factors, still remains unclear.

source: www.smh.com.au

Obesity linked to quantity of sleep

A recent study has revealed a link between obesity and people who sleep for either less than 6 hours, or more than 9 hours, each night.

source: www.smh.com.au

Obesity linked to birth defects

Pregnant women who are obese are twice as likely to give birth to children with a birth defect. Whilst the link between obesity and infertility, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia has been well known for many years, the link to birth defects has not been known until now. Pregnancy following gastric banding surgery is safe, and may prevent such problems.

source: www.smh.com.au

Gastric banding is a cheap way to fight diabetes

A Victorian study has found that the costs associated with type 2 diabetes far outweigh the costs involved in gastric banding, which is an effective therapy for this condition.

Source: www.news.com.au

Gastric banding should be made available to the public hospital system

Gastric banding is so effective in the treatment of obesity and its related disorders that calls for it to be performed in NSW public hospitals have been made once again.

source: www.smh.com.au