Study reinforces need to curb obesity
Monday, 11 October 2004
The treatment of obesity has proven that it can reduce the onset of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, high cholesterol levels, diabetes mellitus, and even erectile dysfunction.
And according to the University of Adelaide's Associate Professor Gary Wittert, who is championing The Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study, there is a compelling argument for an aggressive intervention program given the high prevalence of obesity and the relationship to the aforementioned health problems.
"Australian men of all ages have a lower life expectancy and poorer health outcomes compared to women," A/Professor Wittert says. "It is therefore important for us to understand the discrepancy and what measures can be adopted to not only promote a healthy and active lifestyle, but prevent disease."
The objective of the Florey study is to determine the prevalence of disease and the inter-relationships of socio-demographic factors; chronic disease and lifestyle factors such as physical activity, diet and smoking. This will then guide the development of appropriate health services and policy.
For the study, men aged 35-80 were recruited from Adelaide's North-Western suburbs and to date, 568 have been analysed while data from an additional 600 is currently being collected.
"Eighty two per cent were overweight and 35 per cent were obese using body mass index, while 67 per cent were overweight and 39 per cent obese using waist circumference as a measure," A/Professor Wittert says.
Of the lifestyle diseases, 28 per cent suffered from hypertension; 34 per cent had an elevated blood pressure during their clinic visit and overall 52 per cent reported some degree of erectile dysfunction with its severity affected by increasing age.
"Severe erectile dysfunction is associated with poorer overall quality of life, physical and social function, less satisfaction with relationships and lower income," A/Professor Wittert says. He added the foregoing data is alarming, but thanks to a $450,000 Florey Medical Research Grant, "we will be able to study the best way to deal with this problem in men".
A/Professor Wittert will discuss this issue as the Florey Lecture's keynote speaker at 5:30pm on Wednesday 13 October in the Florey Lecture Theatre, Medical School North, Frome Road. The title is: "Obesity, Reproductive, General and Psychological Healthy in Adult Men - Lessons from The Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study".