There are many reasons why people might want to lose weight: improved fitness, dissatisfaction with their looks, a health scare, societal expectations, and the list goes on. People might want to lose weight at any age, and they may choose to diet or exercise (or both) to achieve their goals.
To get a better understanding of what motivates people to start losing weight and how they begin their journey, the health insurance experts at Compare the Market surveyed more than 3,000 adults from Australia, Canada and the USA to find out.
Most people try to lose weight without talking to a doctor first
Across all three nations surveyed, most people had, at some point in their life, began a journey to lose weight. Australia had the highest number of respondents attempting to shed some kilos, with 62.2% of Australians working to lose weight. In Canada it was 57.5% of respondents who tried the same, while the US cohort showed an almost even split with 50.9% of Americans going on a weight loss plan.
Shockingly, the vast majority of those who have embarked on a journey to lose weight across all countries surveyed did so without first consulting a medical professional. This number was again highest in Australia with more than three-in-four (75.3%) choosing not to talk to a health professional beforehand. In North America, it was 68.8% for Canada and 63% for the USA.
Compare the Market’s Head of Health Insurance, Lana Hambilton, says these numbers can be cause for concern.
“The fact that so many people don’t talk to their doctor or a health professional before deciding to lose weight is worrisome. Doing so is important, as it means you can receive sound medical advice, which can help you with a plan or regime that is tailored to your specific needs. This will help you get the most out of your weight loss journey,” says Hambilton.
Compare the Market’s survey asked respondents if they ever had to stop losing weight due to concerns their weight loss regimen was actually adversely affecting their health.
Canada had the highest proportion of adults who needed to stop their journey because of how it was negatively affecting them, with almost a third doing so (32.8%). America had a slightly lower percentage with 28.4%, and Australia the lowest at 18.4%, or just less than one-in-five.
How health insurance can help you on your weight loss journey
Talking to a doctor isn’t just beneficial for setting yourself up for a positive weight loss journey, but it is crucial to accessing some of the benefits of private health insurance for weight loss related services. As Hambilton explains:
“In Australia, private health insurance can contribute towards the costs of dietetics appointments and health management programs. Some policies will even pay a benefit towards gym memberships by getting sign-off from your doctor.”
“What you can claim on will depend on whether you hold hospital, extras or combined cover and the inclusions on your policy. In Australia, some Gold hospital insurance policies can cover things like gastric sleeve or gastric bypass surgery, if your doctor believes they are medically necessary. An extras policy can cover things like gym memberships, weight management programs and consultations with a dietitian”
Hambilton adds, “having private health insurance gives you more options, helps you avoid public waiting lists and gives you the freedom to choose your doctor.”