Shaping weight management support in primary care

New online resource hub, SHAPE (Supporting holistic and person-centred weight education) has launched, supporting health professionals to play a more central role in helping people to manage their weight and improve health and wellbeing outcomes.

SHAPE is a centralised website of tools, resources, and education, designed to support a better understanding of the complexity of factors influencing body shape and size, and how to engage patients and guide them on their journey. Through this we can drive long-term change.

WA Primary Health Alliance General Manager – Primary Care Innovation & Development, Bernadette Kenny, said fostering a workforce who are equipped to have the conversation with their patients and empower behaviour change is integral to supporting people living with overweight and obesity who are seeking guidance to improve their health.

“Australia has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world, with about two thirds of adults and a quarter of children in Australia considered overweight or obese. We have an important opportunity to change this through equipping health professionals with the skills and confidence to start the conversation.

“Conversations about weight can be sensitive and are often challenging for both health professionals and patients alike. A reluctance among health professionals to discuss weight, along with stigma, shame and other psychological factors often acting as barriers to people seeking or getting the support they need.”


SHAPE acknowledges the long-term relationships general practitioners have with their patients and encourages GPs and other health professionals to consider the complete picture, while also promoting a person-centred approach to patient weight management and health behaviour change.

SHAPE offers Conversations about Weight, a suite of training modules for health professionals developed by Diabetes WA and are accredited by RACGP. The training focuses on different aspects of weight management, including causes and treatments, from the perspective of both patient and health professional. Each module provides insight into the complexity of this topic, to empower health professionals to support patients and guide these sensitive, yet important conversations.

The project’s Clinical Content Working Group (CCWG) has made a significant contribution throughout development of the hub, providing direction, advice and clinical expertise along the way. Consumer perspectives and the diverse range of stakeholders involved has also helped shape the project and development of resources.

As a key partner in the WA Healthy Weight Action Plan 2019-2024, WA Primary Health Alliance has developed SHAPE to improve weight management in primary care.

The CCWG includes Dr Jennifer Graham-Taylor, Kate Fleming, Dr Rebecca Hunt-Davies, Clare Mullen, Helen Mitchell, Jennifer Cake, Dr Sue Jackson and Mandy Morgan-Lewis.

Visit SHAPE to find out more.