Course Overview


This Course considers how medications can contribute to weight gain and obesity, and the vicious cycle that exists with obesity being a major risk factor for some chronic diseases, treating these diseases, and managing the side effects of the medicines used in treatment. Obesity is a highly sensitive issue that health professionals may not feel comfortable addressing. So how do you approach this issue with your patients?

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the prevalence of the obesity epidemic in Australia in order to enhance delivery of sensitive and appropriate care
  • Correlate obesity with co-morbid conditions to improve patient outcomes through the implementation of weight reduction strategies
  • Use your understanding of specific medicines that cause weight gain in order to improve patient’s quality of life by managing the side effects of these medicines
  • Link alternative therapies for weight reduction with education strategies to improve patient outcomes through effective weight management

Topics include:

  • Obesity in Australia
  • Disease states affected by obesity
  • Medicines
  • Strategies for weight reduction

Target audience

All health professionals, but especially nurses, enrolled nurses, nurse practitioners, and diabetes educators, who may work more closely with administration of medication that can cause weight gain, as well as patients that may be obese.


Provide education about the pathogenesis of obesity and how medications can contribute to this condition in order to assist patients to obtain and maintain optimum weight health.


Around 68% of Australian adults are overweight or obese, and rates of obesity continue to rise in Australia. Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some musculoskeletal conditions, and some cancers. As the level of excess weight increases, so too does the risk of developing these conditions. In addition, being overweight can hamper the ability to control or manage chronic disorders. Medicines can contribute to both weight reduction and weight gain. Greater awareness of medicines that adversely affect a healthy weight – especially those used in prevalent co-morbid conditions – will assist health professionals to implement weight management strategies and better educate patients to manage the side effects of these medicines. A team approach is needed to assist and encourage patients to maintain a healthy weight.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements