Why does SHAPE exist?
Obesity is becoming increasingly prevalent and is driven by a complex mix of factors. Currently, 67 per cent of adults and 25 per cent of children are living with overweight or obesity in WA.
There are more than 100 different causes of obesity, and while many of these are outside of a person’s control, the shame, stigma, and personal blame people experience often acts as a barrier to support.
Globally, the narrative is shifting from one of personal responsibility to one of shared responsibility. We recognise the significant impact of genetics, individual physiology and the obesogenic environment on a person’s ability to manage their weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. At WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA), we value our role in continuing this essential shift.
This is why we have developed SHAPE.
The aim of the project is to empower general practitioners (GPs) and other health professionals working in WA, with the skills and resources to understand the drivers and barriers to achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight. We also aim to equip you with tools and knowledge to help start the conversation about weight, and engage patients in sensitive, non-stigmatising conversations to guide them along their health journey.
Specifically, we aim to support the number of GPs and other health professionals who feel confident and are delivering weight related assessment and intervention services, in partnership with their patients aged between 18-65 years.
Two main outcomes of this project include
- The SHAPE website
- Conversations About Weight, Online Training: an RACGP accredited weight management education package for health professionals, developed by Diabetes WA
SHAPE is a centralised website, serving as a ‘healthy weight hub’ for general practice. It contains tools, resources, and education, to support general practice to play a more central role in helping people to manage their weight and improve health and wellbeing outcomes. By focusing on health in a person centred and holistic way, SHAPE acknowledges the long-term relationships GPs have with their patients and their ability to see the complete picture.
Project in context
This project is part of a larger, state-wide commitment to halt the rise of obesity, as stated under The Sustainable Health Review, Recommendation 2a. Additionally, it is part of our commitment at WAPHA to deliver the WA Healthy Weight Action Plan 2019-2024 (WAHWAP), which was developed by a collaborative partnership led by WA Health, WAPHA and Health Consumers’ Council.
Future visions for the project include the addition of resources to SHAPE, to assist GPs and other health professionals in supporting;
- Patients between the ages of 0 to18 years;
- Patients who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; and
- Patients who are culturally and linguistically diverse.
We will also continue to support other WAHWAP initiatives, including the establishment of the Weight Education Lifestyle Leadership (WELLCo) Collaborative, a movement of passionate people and engaged organisations from across WA, striving to drive system level change across WA, supported by an online platform of useful resources.