Standing on scales

Will weight loss surgery give you a better quality of life?

While most of us are aware there are medical benefits with weight loss surgery, there are also an array of non-medical benefits patients can expect.

Gold Coast Weight Loss surgeon Dr Jason Free reveals 6 areas of improvement patients can experience post weight loss surgery:

1. Depression & Anxiety
A Swedish study involving thousands of obese patients found that those who underwent surgery had a significant decrease in depression and anxiety, compared to those who were treated with diet, exercise and counselling.

2. Self-Concept and Personality
Self-concept refers to a patient’s perception of “self” including several important characteristics such as: self-esteem, body image, self-confidence, and sense of attractiveness and assertiveness. A recent published review of the literature suggests that weight loss surgery improves self-esteem, self-confidence, and expressiveness. These changes appear to be correlated with major improvements in body image and weight-loss satisfaction after surgery. Various studies have looked at improvement in self-esteem with results ranging from 89-96% of patients demonstrating an improved self-esteem. Even patients who had not lost as much weight as anticipated had a dramatic improvement in self-esteem.

3. Mobility
Many obese people find it difficult to participate in activities they might otherwise enjoy & have limitations in movement and decreased mobility. Evidence shows weight loss surgery decreases the proportion of people with a “physical handicap” due to their obesity from 50% down to 6%.

4. Vitality
The lack of motivation and tiredness many obese patients feel is dramatically improved following surgery. When looking at a person’s quality of life scoring, many noted their score almost doubled, from 35 to 67.

5. Sexuality
In a study of patients following sleeve gastrectomy, 85% noticed having an improvement in their sexual life.

6. Social Functioning
Surgical weight loss has been shown to decrease discrimination of others towards obese patients. “Public Distress” and “Social Functioning” scores on quality of life questionnaires showed significant improvements.

According to Dr Free, “most obese patients consider the impaired quality of life to be the most crippling aspect of their disease, despite having medical comorbidities which can be improved.  After surgery, many consider the lifestyle improvement the greatest benefit.”

For more information on weight loss surgery, visit:

This is a sponsored editorial brought to you by Dr Jason Free



10 things parents should remember about swimming this summer

Are your little ones begging to go swimming now that summer is here?

Earlier this year, new research showed swimming pools (including home, public, hotel and portable pools) were the number one location for children drowning between the age of 0-4 years.

Of the 29 drowning deaths in children aged 0-4 years last financial year, almost half of them (45%) happened in swimming pools around Australia.

Every year for the past 10 years, 30 children under the age of 5 have drowned in Australia.

This is why Dr Ryan Harvey from House Call Doctor believes new and young parents need to know how to prevent the risks young children are exposed to in swimming pools and spas.

“It can take as little as 5cm of water and an unsupervised child for a drowning to occur”, says Dr Harvey.

“Whether it’s a pool in your backyard, the public pool down the road, or the hotel pool your family is using, there are major risks to a child’s health and safety”.

If unsafe conditions arise in pools and spas, children can be at risk of fatal drowning, near drowning, dry drowning/secondary drowning (whilst rare, this occurs after leaving the water), infections and physical injuries.

“The implications alone with near drowning can be pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, brain damage, and chemical and fluid imbalances”, says Dr Harvey.

“Not to mention that some children might experience psychological trauma from a near-drowning event.”

Whilst there are risks to letting young children swim in pools and spas, new or young parents should encourage safe swimming.

“Swimming is first and foremost an essential survival skill for children. It’s also a great way for children to exercise and have fun in the outdoors”, says Dr Harvey.

To help your children have a fun and safe time in all pools and spas, here are Dr Harvey’s 10 tips:

  1. Make sure your pool or spa has compliant fencing to your state’s regulation.
    Check SPASA for your state’s pool fence regulations.
  2. Ensure there is no furniture for children to use to climb over the fence.
    A locked gate doesn’t stop children from figuring out how to get into the pool.
  3. Supervise your child at all times in the water.
    Unless your child is 16 years old, never rely on them to supervise their younger sibling.
  4. Never let your children cover a pool’s filter inlet or spa jets
    Hair, bathing suit strings, tassels and even body parts can become entangled in an improperly covered drain or suction point.
  5. Never let your children put their head under water in Spas
    Warm, shallow water is the perfect breeding ground for infections, particularly for the ear. Take your child to your local GP as soon as they start showing signs of an ear infection.
  6. Have ‘No Diving’ signs in your pools
    Children love to dive into pools, but often they don’t realise how shallow a pool can be. This can prevent little ones having major physical injuries.
  7. Empty paddling pools, baths, basins, sinks and trough when they are not in use.
    This can prevent the risk of drowning when you’re not watching the children.
  8. Keep yourself up to date with CPR
    More than 40% of Australian parents reported they do not know first aid for a drowning child. Don’t be one of those parents. Complete a first aid and CPR course.
  9. Check floatation toys
    Floatation toys should not be relied on as safety devices. Always check the warning labels and follow the instructions for proper assembly use. Throw them out immediately for any signs of wear and tear.
  10. Keep your kids up to date with swimming lessons
    Infants as young as 4 months can start swimming lessons, depending on their medical history. Attending lessons as a regular part of a child’s weekly routine through their infant, preschool and early school years is a great way to give your child the best development of their swimming.


Dr R.HARVEYAbout the author
Dr Ryan Harvey is the Deputy Clinical Director at House Call Doctor and is highly experienced in paediatrics. He has administered medical care to children living in remote overseas communities and now works with many families, administering acute care when unexpected medical situations arise overnight.

GC2018 Mat Rogers Donelle Coulter

SunSmart uniforms unveiled for GC2018 volunteers

More than 15,000 volunteers lending a hand at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be wearing uniforms that will keep them protected from the sun.

Cancer Council Queensland has been working with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) to make sure all volunteers have uniforms that are sun safe.

All Games Shaper uniforms have a UPF 50+ rating, and volunteers will also be given a wide brim panama style hat, have access to free sunscreen and adequate shaded areas to carry out duties. The uniform also includes a convenient holding loop to store sunglasses.

GOLDOC CEO, Mark Peters said the GC2018 Games Shapers will wear a unique uniform reflecting the Gold Coast’s distinctively bold, bright and relaxed style combined with a number of practical features adapted for the Queensland heat.

“The health and wellbeing of our workforce is paramount. We want the uniforms to be comfortable, sun safe and worn with pride,” Mr Peters said.

“With the advice of Cancer Council Queensland, Hard Yakka have been able to develop a sun safe uniform that will help our team deliver a great Games.”

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan applauded the GOLDOC for their commitment to sun safety.

“We’re proud to have advised Games organisers through this process to ensure that volunteers and staff are protected from the sun,” she said.

“At Cancer Council Queensland we understand the value of volunteers and the role they play in making events like these come together – and we are dedicated to helping all volunteers improve health and wellbeing.

“Skin damage can occur in as little as 10-15 minutes if you’re outdoors without sun protection.

“Wearing protective clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, and seeking shade will provide vital protection from the sun and significantly reduce the risk of skin cancer later in life.”

Ms McMillan said volunteers also played a part in role modelling sun safe behaviours to athletes and spectators during the games.

Australians should follow all five sun-protective behaviours to protect their skin when outdoors – Slip on protective clothing, Slop on minimum SPF30 broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunnies.


Queenslanders speak out in support of smoke-free places

Despite extensive smoking laws in Queensland, a new study has revealed that around three quarters of adults are still exposed to second-hand smoke in public places on a weekly basis.

Cancer Council Queensland, Heart Foundation Queensland and Asthma Australia’s Smoke-free Places Survey found that 76 per cent of people reported being exposed to second-hand smoke every week in public places.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the survey shows there is a need for tougher smoke-free laws to better protect Queenslanders from the harmful effects of tobacco.

“There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke – and this survey gives us clear evidence that Queenslanders are aware of the dangers and ready for progress in this area,” she said.

“Respondents expressed overwhelming support for proposed smoke free places, with 93 per cent supporting a smoking-ban at markets, 92 per cent supporting a ban in tertiary education facilities and 91 per cent a ban in town squares.

“It’s our priority to advocate for stronger tobacco legislation reforms through the extension of statewide smoke-free places in Queensland.”

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Australia. In Queensland alone around 3700 people die from a tobacco-related disease each year and two per cent of those deaths are caused by second-hand smoke exposure.

Heart Foundation Queensland CEO, Stephen Vines, said the survey results confirmed popular support for smoke-free zones in Queensland.

“While Queensland has led the charge with legislation we now need to make sure this is backed up with compliance,” Mr Vines said.

“Regularly breathing in other people’s smoke can increase your risk of heart disease by 30 percent.

“The most vulnerable people are the elderly and children, and we need to do our best to protect them from exposure in public places.”

Asthma Australia Ltd CEO Michele Goldman also voiced her support for policy change to protect all Queenslanders, including children.

“Asthma Australia calls for stronger tobacco legislation reforms in regard to smoke-free environments to protect the 1 in 9 people with asthma from unnecessary symptoms, or worse an asthma flare-up requiring urgent medical care.” Ms Goldman said.

The Smoke-free Places Survey surveyed 2600 Queensland adults aged 18 and over. Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).

Mother and Child

Drinking alcohol when trying to fall pregnant could increase child’s risk of obesity

Planning to have a baby? New research has put forward another reason for mums-to-be to avoid alcohol – to minimise the chance of your baby becoming obese later in life.

Researchers from the University of Queensland looked at how alcohol exposure affects an egg that has just been fertilised. They found that exposure to alcohol around the time of conception made male children more likely to follow a high fat diet.

Professor Karen Moritz from the University of Queensland said: “Our results highlight that alcohol consumption, even prior to a fertilised egg implanting in the uterus, can have lifelong consequences for the metabolic health of offspring.”

She said it “indicated the reward pathway in the brain was altered by alcohol exposure around conception.”

Professor Moritz said this and another related study found that the sons of mums who drunk alcohol around the time of conception had five per cent more body fat than those whose mothers had not drunk alcohol. They were also more likely to have higher fat mass around their abdomen, leading to health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.