Heart Health

27 September 2010

Weight loss: pharmacists can help

Pharmacists can help customers seeking treatment for obesity by assessing all aspects of their health and lifestyle, including their medication, a pharmacy conference has heard.


Pharmacists faced with customers wanting treatment for obesity had to take an holistic approach and assess all aspects of a patient’s health and lifestyle, including the medication they were taking, Johannesburg cardiologist Dr Jeff King told a pharmacy conference in Durban last week.

King, an expert in cardiovascular risk management, was speaking at the 4th annual Clicks Pharmacy Conference, which was attended by over 400 pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and nursing practitioners from across the country.

“We have an obesity epidemic in South Africa and pharmacists are in the ideal position to advise patients on schedule 2, clinically proven weight loss medication,” he said.

Potential interaction with meds

However, some weight loss medication could interact with a patient’s existing medication and it was up to the pharmacist to assess every aspect of a person’s life before giving advice or dispensing weight loss medication.

King said South Africans lived on bread and potatoes which, with alcohol, and a lack of effective regular exercise, were the biggest culprits in adding to the national waistline.

“Nobody should be drinking more than two tots or two glasses of wine a day,” he told the audience. “Alcohol is a carbohydrate that makes you put on weight.”

South Africans also had a tendency to dish up too much food and large portion sizes which had to be trimmed down.

Eating too late at night was exacerbating weight gain and King said the last meal of the day should be eaten two hours before bedtime.

“Going to bed on a full stomach causes weight gain,” he said.

'Education children'

In an interview afterwards, King said mothers and schools had a duty to educate children about proper nutrition as bad eating habits, which led to heart disease, were being entrenched in childhood.

“Teach children to eat oats for breakfast, pack a healthy school lunch and don’t dish up such big portions,” he stressed.

South Africa is now the third fattest nation in the world.

“The only reason we can still see the tips of our shoes over our stomachs is because fashion has made the shoes longer,” he joked.

(Health24, September 2010)


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