'Very unfair' that Ireland has highest obesity rate, yet poorest access to treatment

Image supplied by the World Obesity Federation

There are calls for the HSE to treat obesity as a disease.

Ireland has the highest rate of obesity in the EU with one in four adults officially obese - more than one million adults.

Currently, obesity treatments are available here but they are not funded by the Government.

Consultant bariatric surgeon, professor Helen Heneghan has called on the Department of Health to establish an obesity programme, and to properly invest in it.

"We have the poorest access in the whole of Europe - and even really in the Western world - to obesity treatments, which we have available to us but they're just not funded or available to people in Ireland.

"That's very unfair."

Today marks the World Obesity Day, intended to raise awareness of the condition and ways to treat it.

President of the World Obesity Federation Dr Donna Ryan has said in The Lancet that at the heart of the stigma around obesity is a failure to recognise obesity as a disease and the complexities of obesity.

“The common narrative around obesity is one that focuses on the disease being a result of poor choices, ignoring the multitude of factors; social, commercial and others, that contribute to this epidemic,” said Dr Ryan.

“This failure to recognise obesity as a chronic disease means that those living with obesity are subject to stigma, even from health professionals who should and must know better.”

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