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Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs for Weight Loss


Obesity may have significant health, social and economic impacts and is closely related to a lack of exercise and to diet. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of suffering from a range of conditions, including coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers, knee and hip problems and sleep apnoea.

Overweight and obesity is a risk factor for many serious and chronic health conditions, and it
is a major public health issue in Australia. Being obese presents greater health risks than being
overweight but not obese (AIHW 2016a).

Rates of overweight and obesity in Australia have risen over recent decades, with nearly 2 in 3 adults, and 1 in 4 children considered overweight or obese in 2014–15 (ABS 2015). Overweight and obesity was responsible for 7% of the total health burden in Australia in 2011, 63% of which was fatal burden. In 2011–12, obesity was estimated to have cost the Australian economy $8.6 billion (AIHW 2017). In 2008, the total annual cost of obesity in Australia, including health system costs, productivity declines and carers’ costs, was estimated at around $58 billion (2009 National Health Survey.

n 2011-12, 62.8% of Australians aged 18 years and over were overweight or obese, comprised of 35.3% overweight and 27.5% obese. A further 35.5% were of normal weight and 1.7% were underweight.

The prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased in Australia over time, from 56.3% in 1995 and 61.2% in 2007–08.

Overweight and obesity varies with age, with 74.9% of people aged 65-74 years being overweight or obese, compared with 36.4% of people aged 18-24 years.

In 2011-12, more men were overweight or obese than women (69.7% compared with 55.7%). However, looking at only those persons who were obese, rates are the same for men and women (both 27.5%). The proportion of people who are obese has increased across all age groups over time, up from 18.7% in 1995 to 27.5% in 2011-12 (ABS 2013).

Other Facts (Australian Institute of Health & Welfare):

  • Nearly two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, with the proportion of obese adults continuing to rise.
  • One-quarter of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.
  • Indigenous Australians, people outside Major cities, or in lower socioeconomic groups are more likely to be overweight.
  • Overweight and obesity lead to higher likelihood of chronic conditions and death, and have high costs to the economy

For the full report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, “A Picture of Overweight and Obesity in Australia 2017” click here.

New Research

Research on the positive effectiveness of acupuncture for weight loss notes that the body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference to hip ratio (WHR) are used to determine the norms for weight. BMI is the person’s mass in kilograms divided by the square of the individual’s height in metres. A BMI above 30 is considered obese and below 18.5 is underweight. Normal weight is approximately 18.5 – 24.9 BMI. WHR is used to determine visceral adiposity versus subcutaneous fat distribution. Excess visceral fat is considered a more serious health risk.

The effect and the relevant mechanisms behind how herbal medicine work as an antiobesity treatment are still controversial. During the past decade, much recent progress has been made in the study of weight loss therapy with herbal medicine. Clinical investigations of herbal medicine have been shown to be effective in the treatment of obesity (Yanfei Liu et al 2017).