Centre for Health and Social Research

Lunchtime Research Seminar Series

Is weight loss the best approach to treating obesity?

NHMRC guidelines for managing overweight and obesity highlight the risks of excess weight, and encourage health professionals to encourage overweight and obese individuals to lose weight with the aim of improving health and longevity. A range of lifestyle and pharmacological weight loss interventions exist. They typically result in small weight loses in the short term, however weight is almost always regained in the medium to long term. While medical and psychosocial benefits can be achieved with weight loss, these benefits are rarely sustained when weight is regained.

The Health at Every Size (HAES) approach argues the need to promote health and health behaviours, rather than weight loss and dieting, in individuals of all sizes. In contrast to traditional weight loss approaches HAES argues that: weight may not pose significant mortality and morbidity, weight loss may not prolong life, weight loss via lifestyle changes is not achievable for most people, repeated failed weight loss attempts lead to psychosocial distress, a community focus on weight loss increases stigmatisation and discrimination, and finally that health improvements can be achieved via improved health behaviour change regardless of weight loss.

HAES interventions promote body acceptance, responding to hunger and satiety, and enjoyable physical activity rather than weight loss, dietary restriction, and structured exercise. Early research indicates that this approach results significant improvements in health, physiological outcomes, and psychosocial outcomes and better treatment retention. Contrary to concerns published HAES interventions have not resulted in weight gain.

June 7

Lunch 12.00, Seminar 12.30 – 1.30

ACU Melbourne

215 Spring Street, Melbourne
Level 5, Meeting Room 1 (470.5.03)

This is a free event and lunch will be provided. Please advise of special dietary requirements when you RSVP. Colleagues are welcome but must please register.

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A/Prof Leah Brennan

Australian Catholic University

Dr Leah Brennan is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at Australian Catholic University (School or Psychology and Centre for Eating, Weight and Body Image) where she leads the Body Image, Eating and Weight Clinical Research Team and the Clinic for Healthy Eating and Weight. She is an endorsed clinical, health, and educational and developmental psychologist. Her research focuses on the role of psychology in understanding and treating feeding, eating, weight, and body image disorders and their biopsychosocial comorbidities. Leah has worked in a range of community and hospital settings providing assessment and treatment for individuals with obesity and eating disorders. She is passionate about the implementation of evidence based practice and the generation of practice based research.


Video Conferencing

ACU colleagues are encouraged to dial in from a campus A/V meeting room, or by using Polycom Realpresence on their computer desktop. A/V room bookings can be requested via Servicedesk@acu.edu.au or 07 3623 7272. To join the seminar please dial #6133699 for 12.30pm and advise research.chasr@acu.edu.au ASAP of this intention.