Could genetics be the reason behind obesity?

Twenty-five per cent of Australian adults are estimated to be clinically obese.


The common view is that obesity is a self-inflicted condition. But one Melbourne clinic is challenging that perception.

Austin Health Obesity Physician, Professor Joe Proietto says he treats obesity as a chronic genetic disease.

“The view that obesity is genetic is controversial, however the evidence is very strong that there is a genetic predisposition to obesity,” said Professor Proietto.


In a new SBS documentary Obesity Myth, doctors are trying to treat patients through a combination of diet, medication and surgery, tailored specifically for their genetic make-up.

Professor Proietto believes the environment has far less bearing on weight than genetics.

But Sydney University Obesity Research Director, Dr Nick Fuller says blaming genetics is only going to make the obesity crisis worse.

“We are finding more and more genes that contribute to obesity but genetics are not the reason for the increase in prevalence of obesity,” said Dr Fuller.

Dr Fuller believes dieting is not the most effective solution. He believes weight loss should happen slowly, to trick the body into believing it is at a new set weight point.

“They need to lose a small amount of weight before the usual response to weight loss kicks in and maintain that weight so they can reprogram their set weight before going on to lose weight,” said Dr Fuller.

Helene Jagdon has been trying to lose weight for 30 years. She has tried every fad diet and training regime in the book.

Only in the last few years under Dr Fuller’s strategy has she been able to lose 14 kilograms and keep it off.

“He didn’t make us feel like we were on a diet, he was just guiding us to what foods we can eat and not really saying what foods we can’t eat.

“He was just saying if you feel like having a laksa, have a laksa, but maybe limit it to one takeaway treat in a week,” said Ms Jagdon.

Now sitting at a comfortable 68 kilograms, Helene has maintained her passion for cooking and is inspiring people half her age to lose weight without dramatically changing their lives.

0:00 Preview: The Obesity Myth Share Preview: The Obesity Myth

The three-part documentary series The Obesity Myth  starts September 4 on SBS at 7.30pm.

Out-of-sorts Diamonds outplayed by NZ

Australia’s inability to find their shooters cost them dearly in the Netball Quad series finale against New Zealand, captain Caitlin Bassett believes.


The Diamonds were comprehensively outplayed 57-47 by New Zealand in Invercargill, losing the four-nation tournament title after earlier beating England and South Africa.

The Silver Ferns ran away with the first quarter 18-10, then held their nerve over the remaining 45 minutes to shut out their second win over the world champions in nearly two years.

Bassett said the Australians had failed to respond to New Zealand’s lift in intensity.

“I think once we got the ball in the circle, there was no issue – it was getting the ball into the circle that we had an issue with,” she said.

“I think tonight we lost our connection – we didn’t play as a team.

“We were doing too much individual work, and not enough unit work.

“That was what the Silver Ferns did well: they split us apart and they exposed us, they put us in individual units and we didn’t get back together again.”

Two positional changes were key in the New Zealand win – the introduction of 20-year-old 192cm goalkeeper Kelly Jury to mark Bassett, and the shift of shooter Bailey Mes to goal attack.

Coach Lisa Alexander admitted her players didn’t adjust well to either change, and she was particularly unhappy with Jury’s impact on the game.

“She did very well, but I think she got away with a bit in the circle though,” Alexander said.

“There were a lot of hands across and I thought she was too close on a number of occasions, so I’ll speak to the umpires about that.”

While Mes did a solid job in sinking 17 from 18, it was the work she did further up the court which proved crucial.

Her height and athleticism was invaluable in bringing the ball downcourt, while her defensive skills forced numerous turnovers, including three clear intercepts.

The Diamonds did themselves no favours with an uncharacteristically disorganised response to New Zealand’s zone defence, something Alexander struggled to explain.

“We know we’ve got an all-out out strategy against the zone, but we simply didn’t do it – I can’t explain it any other way,” she said.

While the introduction of Liz Watson helped boost Australia’s midcourt, 43-cap centre Kim Ravaillion was too often ineffective.

“At the end of the day, Kim is the more experienced player, she’s played in these competitions before and we would have expected her to step up,” Alexander said.

“Unfortunately, she just didn’t have the drive.”

N Korea’s ‘H-bomb’ sends global shockwaves

North Korea says its tested an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile, marking a dramatic escalation of the regime’s stand-off with the United States and its allies.


State television said the hydrogen bomb test ordered by leader Kim Jong Un had been a “perfect success”.

The bomb was designed to be mounted on its newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile.

North Korea’s sixth nuclear test drew swift international condemnation.

US President Donald Trump described North Korea as a “dangerous” “rogue nation”, later when asked if he would attack the North he said: “We’ll see.”

He late tweeted he was considering a global trade embargo, which would cut US trade with any country doing business with Pyongyang.

The big question is whether advisers like defence secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can persuade Trump not to abandon diplomacy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to “appropriately deal” with the test.

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed the international community must step up its response, while Abe also said he and Putin would cooperate.

Putin has no plans to telephone North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.

The test registered with international seismic agencies as a man-made earthquake.

Japanese and South Korean officials said it was about 10 times more powerful than the tremor picked up after North Korea’s last nuclear test a year ago.

There was no independent confirmation the detonation was a hydrogen bomb, but Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo could not rule out such a possibility.

A US intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US had no reason to doubt it was an advanced nuclear device tested.

Experts who studied the impact of the earthquake caused by the explosion – measured by the US Geological Survey at magnitude 6.3 – said that there was enough strong evidence to suggest the reclusive state has either developed a hydrogen bomb or was getting very close.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Seoul would push for strong steps to further isolate the North, including new UN sanctions. Japan also raised the prospect of further sanctions, saying curbs on North Korea’s oil trade would be on the table.

China, North Korea’s sole major ally, strongly condemned the nuclear test and urged Pyongyang to stop its “wrong” actions.

The US wants urged Beijing to do more to rein in its neighbour, but Beijing rejects that it’s solely responsible for doing so. China says military drills by South Korea and the US on the Korean peninsula add to tensions.

Under third-generation leader Kim, North Korea has been pursuing a nuclear device small and light enough to fit on a long-range ballistic missile, without affecting its range and making it capable of surviving re-entry.

North Korea claimed in January last year to have tested a miniaturised hydrogen bomb, also known as a thermonuclear device, but outside experts were sceptical.

Southgate’s England under pressure to entertain

While England have remained in control of Group F since beating Slovakia 1-0 away with a last-gasp goal, they have hardly provided much excitement.


Friday’s 4-0 victory in Malta included one goal in the 85th minute and two in stoppage time — disguising what had been a turgid display against a side ranked 190th in the world by FIFA.

Former captain Terry Butcher said the current England team lacked “something special” after the Malta victory.

While manager Gareth Southgate defended the display against Malta, and will prioritise three points on Monday over style, he knows the fans want evidence his side can make an impression in Russia next year after a series of flops in major tournaments.

“We have some exciting players and we want to show that,” Southgate said ahead of Monday’s game against second-placed Slovakia, who are two points behind England.

“We have a responsibility to get the Wembley crowd on their feet but, equally, everywhere we go in the world the home crowd give the team a lift. It will be great if we can get the level of support that stadium (Wembley) can bring.”

That will largely depend on whether his team of Premier League regulars commanding vast transfer fees, can do a better job at breaking down Slovakia than they did against Malta until a late flurry of goals put some gloss on the scoreline.

England are unbeaten in their last 36 qualifiers for major tournaments and have won their last 12.

Slovakia, however, are their closest challengers having won five qualifiers in a row after a bad start to the campaign.

“We are playing good opposition so we have to make sure we are tactically prepared, which we will be, but also have belief in the team we have got,” Southgate said.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Buhrer positive Knights have turned corner

Newcastle have enough wooden spoons to fill a culinary set, but captain Jamie Buhrer insists it doesn’t feel as though the Knights have finished last this NRL season.


The Knights ended another miserable campaign with a spirited 26-18 loss to Cronulla where they showed glimpses of the improvement made under Nathan Brown this year.

Twice they could have folded against the defending premiers on Sunday but Brown’s men displayed the fighting qualities that netted them three wins late in the season.

“You saw periods in that game which showed how far we’ve come, but also showed that there’s a period where the younger guys have got to grow again,” Brown said.

The defeat meant the Knights ended the year at the bottom of the ladder – two wins behind the 15th-placed Wests Tigers.

But Buhrer was adamant that if the regular season extended into October, the cellar-dwellers would have dragged themselves up a rung or two.

“It’s a different feeling getting the wooden spoon, you wouldn’t expect there to be too much optimism I suppose,” Buhrer said.

“But from my standpoint, and a lot of the other boys, to see where the club’s gone from November last year when I got here to where we sit now, I can say with confidence that if we had another five, six games left in the season, I don’t think we’d get the wooden spoon.

“That’s the upward trajectory I feel the club’s going in.”

Buhrer said the Knights may have ended with the spoon, but there was gold around the corner.

“It is a wooden spoon; we’re not going to beat around the bush with that. But it certainly doesn’t feel that way,” he said.

“There’s excitement building for next year that comes with the experience that all the young boys are getting. Some of the players that have now got 50 games, they’ve also taken a step.

“And it’s quite well documented we’ve got some great recruits coming in. It’s time to have a rest, but I’m not the only one that’s itching for November 1 and the new year to roll around.”

Brown pointed to the season-high 20,535 crowd that turned up for their annual old boys’ day as proof the fanbase had also begun to believe.

“I think the Knights do old boys day better than anyone,” he said.

“But to get over 20,000 people when you’re playing for your third consecutive spoon, playing a side which nobody gave us a chance of beating, to turn up like they did was unbelievable.

“That’s why the club’s got big scope to become a powerful club because you have got a fanbase that’ll turn up under those circumstances and with Wests (Group), you have a powerful organisation.”