According to statistics, in August 2013 over 14 million Australians were considered overweight or obese with Australia being ranked as one of the fattest nations in the developed world.
For years health professionals have been encouraging Australians to adopt a healthier lifestyle but, with obesity rates more than doubling in the last 20 years, it is clear this message has not been heard. Sonja Bella, Founder of Australian College of Weight Management and developer of the newly accredited Certificate IV in Weight Management, has made it her personal mission to help the people of Australia overcome the current obesity epidemic.
Through her personal journey Sonja discovered the damage that poor diet information can do to a person’s health. As an influential teenager, Sonja lived off 1000 calories a day for nearly 10 years because of dieting advice from media, magazines and social pressure which caused her to be diagnosed with borderline osteoporosis as a young woman. This experience made her passionate about helping others to get off the dieting merry-go-round that ultimately leads to obesity and health complications for so many.
After more than a decade of practicing as a health professional, at both a national and international level, Sonja realised that today’s approach to weight loss and weight management all too often has a bias towards each industry. Many individuals often find weight loss a difficult process as most current industry professionals only specialise with one area of the problem; broadly speaking – nutrition, exercise or the psychological factors that contribute to weight gain – and the clients are then left to try to join the dots.
Sonja’s vision centres around changing the face of the Australian weight management industry to bring a more holistic approach to weight loss and weight management and to encourage higher levels of networking, referring and supporting the needs of clients by working together on a united front against the alarming levels of obesity in this country, which is why she developed the Certificate IV in Weight Management.
The Certificate IV in Weight Management aims to encompass best practice methodologies for the promotion of a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to weight loss and weight management whilst encouraging networking, communication and education across the varying disciplines and professions directly working with overweight and/or obese clients.
The Certificate IV in Weight Management has received national accreditation through the VET (Vocational Education & Training) and international accreditation with IARC (International Accreditation Recognition Council) and IICT (International Institute for Complimentary Therapies).
“This qualification opens up exciting opportunities for the weight management industry and I see it as a positive step in creating career pathways and closer relationships between the various medical and health professions working under the weight management umbrella” Ms Bella said.
She also feels that the fitness industry will benefit greatly from this new course as it will provide the ability for Personal Trainers and Fitness Professionals to be able to provide meal plans and a more holistic approach to their clients’ needs.