Healthy Weight GP Project

Australia has one of the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity in the developed world. The WA Primary Health Alliance GP Healthy Weight project aims to offer solutions to general practitioners wanting to support patients to improve their health and wellbeing outcomes and working towards achieving a healthier weight.

Recommendation 2a of the 2019 Sustainable Health Review in Western Australia is committed to halting the rise in obesity by July 2024. Recognition of the complex nature of overweight and obesity gives rise to the need for a collaborative approach across systems, communities and individuals in WA, thus the WA Healthy Weight Action Plan forms a framework for action. As a steward of the WA Healthy Weight Action Plan, WA Primary Health Alliance has committed to actions which support GPs to provide options for patients wanting to make changes to their health. This project forms a core action that WA Primary Health Alliance will take in achieving the health goals of WA.

As the gateway to primary care, general practice is well placed to identify and manage overweight and obesity in WA, however many barriers exist. This project will explore barriers and enablers of supporting patients to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. This will inform a suite of tools, resources and education aimed at primary care clinicians to facilitate the early intervention and management of those living in larger bodies. The tools will be housed on a central electronic repository, which will act as a ‘hub’ for weight management in WA primary care.

Project aim

To improve the number and capability of general practices providing person-centred assessment, intervention and support services for patients located in Western Australia with overweight and obesity.

Project objectives

  • To identify the barriers and enablers to patient weight management in West Australian general practice
  • To identify evidenced based, best practice tools, resources and education currently available to support WA general practices in managing patient weight
  • To identify crossover, duplication and collaboration and co-design opportunities with key stakeholders of the WA Healthy Weight Action Plan for support, tools and resources for weight management across the WA health system
  • To select and develop tools, resources and education to assist general practice in engaging in supportive, non-stigmatising conversations about weight, and providing support for patients in improving health and wellbeing outcomes and working towards achieving a healthier weight
  • To establish a sustainable repository of resources and tools and processes to support WA general practices in patient weight management into WAPHA business as usual

Scope description

  • Investigation of the barriers and enablers to managing patient weight in general practice
  • Engagement with relevant stakeholders to inform and pilot the project
  • Investigation of existing tools and resources support patient weight management in general practice
  • Development and selection of tools, resources and education to support WA general practice in the identification and management of patient weight, including those which support general practice quality improvement activities
  • Design and build of a central electronic hub to house tools, resources and education


WA Primary Health Alliance’s Healthy Weight Project is due for soft launch in March 2022 through targeted promotion across WAPHA and external communications channels. The following is an indicative list of project deliverables:

  • Online weight management ‘hub’ – a centralised website, branded as ‘SHAPE’ (Supporting Holistic And Person-centred weight Education). This site will house tools, resources and education, to support general practice (GPs, practice nurses, other health professionals) to play a more central role in helping people to manage their weight and improve health and wellbeing outcomes.
  • An online education package named ‘Conversations About Weight’, with content developed by Diabetes WA. The education is tailored towards general practice clinicians and aims to upskill and increase clinician confidence in engaging in meaningful and sensitive conversations with patients about weight, the complexity of overweight and obesity and how to work with patients at the centre of treatment and provide ongoing support. As an accredited RACGP CPD activity, it includes the following six, self-paced one-hour modules:
    • Understanding weight management;
    • Conversations that engage;
    • Choosing the right strategy;
    • SMART action planning;
    • Counselling techniques to activate;
    • Putting it all into practice;
  • Tools to assist general practices in implementing weight management services as a quality improvement activity, including PDSA cycle suggestions.
  • Other tools and resources which assist in strengthening multidisciplinary approaches to weight management.


Who did you speak to in Phase 1 of the project?

We spoke to local GPs, practice nurses, dietitans and exercise physiologists during the consultation. Using open-ended, semi-structured questions derived from similar literature, we conducted face-to-face interviews. Similar consumer data collected by the Health Consumers’ Council was also analysed thematically and used to triangulate themes. 7 key findings emerged from the data.

Where can I read more about the key findings?

The Phase 1 report details the kind findings and opportunities.

Who will be informing the project’s clinical deliverables?

A clinical content working group containing expertise from health system and consumer representatives, as well as clinicians, such as GPs, practice nurses, dietitans and psychologists working in the area of overweight and obesity, and disordered eating has advised the clinical deliverables of the project. 

What phase is the project currently in?

The project is currently in Phase 2 (design and refine). Phase 2 is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2022.

Where can I find out more information?

Please contact to find out more about the project.

This project is being supported by Department of Health as part of the implementation of the WA Healthy Weight Action Plan 2019 – 2024.


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