Meeting the challenge of childhood obesity treatment in Irish Healthcare: Generating Data to Facilitate Action.

Obesity is caused by the storage of too much fat tissue in the body. When children become obese they can have difficulties with their physical and mental health including:

  • high blood pressure;
  • painful joints;
  • breathing difficulties;
  • anxiety and early development of other diseases.

International health guidelines recommend that children with obesity are offered treatment early in their life so that health difficulties can be reduced and future diseases can be avoided. International research also recommends that obesity treatment should be available to children in their community and in children's hospitals.

In Ireland, we do not know whether children with obesity can get treatment and if they can, where treatment is offered, what it involves and how children and their parents feel about the treatment they receive. We also do not know what Irish health professionals believe is important in order to offer quality treatment for childhood obesity or whether they have access to training in this area.

This project will be a collaboration between a clinical researcher based in RCSI Dublin and the Health Services Executive, and aims to understand more about what the capacity is within the Irish health service to provide obesity treatment to children. We also aim to ask children and their parents about their experiences of getting or receiving treatment. We will do this by designing and conducting surveys, focus groups and interviews with Irish health professionals and service-users (children with obesity and their parents). We will then gather the collected information and write a report on what treatment is currently available and how this might be improved to meet the Government Action Plan on Obesity.

We expect this project to lead to a better understanding of how Irish children with obesity can get treatment and what changes are needed to improve access to quality treatment.

Award Date
27 March 2020
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Grace O'Malley
Host Institution
APA Cycle 2 2019