News24

Aus to help obese with ops

2009-06-02 19:03

Sydney - An Australian parliamentary committee has recommended boosting public funding for obesity surgery to tackle a growing problem which has left nearly two-thirds of the country overweight.

The committee said operations such as lap band surgery - a reversible procedure to reduce the stomach's capacity - should be made more widely available to help people with extreme cases of weight gain.

"It's hard to access and we know that there is immediate improvement in obesity when surgery is performed," committee chair Labour MP Steve Georganas said, according to ABC News.

"We're not saying that this is for everyone - this is only for people who are morbidly obese."

The recommendation was among 20 made by the House of Representatives Health Committee. Georganas said obesity cost the economy A$8bn last year.

Better food labelling and public health campaigns were also suggested as ways to trim the Australian waistline.

Official figures last month showed one-quarter of Australians are obese with another 37% classified as overweight.

International studies consistently rank Australia among the fattest countries in the world, with the nation's Baker Heart Institute in 2008 suggesting it faced a "fat bomb" outranking even that of the United States.