The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences) in collaboration with the Health Service Executive (HSE), are recruiting health professionals and managers from all disciplines, who work in Ireland, to complete an online survey and/or take part in an online focus group on current childhood obesity treatment services in Ireland.
Aims and further details
The aim of this work is to map currently available services and practices in relation to caring for children with obesity and their complications. It is envisaged that this will help develop an understanding of how these services and practices may differ across the country and in various settings in Ireland. It may also provide valuable insight on the potential barriers and enablers for the provision of obesity treatment services in Ireland and identifying the supports needed.
The online survey takes approximately 15-25 minutes to complete, depending on the level to which the health professional or healthcare manager cares for children and adolescents with obesity in their daily practice, either for weight management specifically or for treatment of other conditions. Survey participants will also have the opportunity to add any information that they feel is important and the opportunity to express an interest in participating in a focus group which is also part of this project.
Please access the survey here
For the next part of this study, we will later be undertaking focus groups with healthcare professionals also. You can register your interest for the online focus groups here. These are open to all health professionals and managers, including those who complete the survey or not.
All views and participation will be greatly appreciated. Participants can choose to take part in both the survey and focus group or just one of these options.
This work and its analysis will be completely anonymous.
Obesity in children
Nearly 20% of children in Ireland are living with overweight or obesity1 with 7% estimated to have obesity2 and 1.5% estimated to have severe obesity3. When children develop obesity 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 research4 and clinical guidelines5 recommend that children with obesity are offered treatment early in their life in an effort to reduce health complications and the risk of future disease. Evidence based treatment should be available to children in their community and in children’s hospitals depending on the severity of their obesity.
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 health professionals believe is important for their local context in order to offer quality treatment for childhood obesity.
Previous related work
In 2020 the Obesity Research and Care Group at RCSI conducted the Sláintecare needs assessment survey among healthcare professionals in Ireland which related to the provision of health professional training and education for childhood obesity. The Childhood Obesity LANDSCAPE Project follows on from that work with the aim of furthering knowledge on factors that can facilitate or hamper the provision and access to treatment services for children and adolescents with obesity. Completing this survey and taking part in this focus group will enable our research group to delve deeper into the experiences and insights of health professionals and healthcare managers so that services can be improved in an informed and collaborative manner.
The Childhood Obesity LANDSCAPE Project has been funded by the Health Research Board of Ireland’s Applied Partnership Award and the Health Service Executive. Dr Grace O’Malley, RCSI is the principal investigator, and Sarah O’Brien, HSE is the lead knowledge user.
For further information in relation to this survey, please see the Survey Participant Information Sheet available here
For further information in relation to this focus group, please complete the Focus Group Expression of Interest Form available here. If you leave your contact information and consent to being invited, you will be provided with more information about this part of the project in due course.
1Mitchell L, Bel-Serrat S, Stanley I, Hegarty T, McCann L, Mehegan J, Murrin C, Heinen M, Kelleher C. (2020). The Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) in the Republic of Ireland – Findings from 2018 and 2019.
2Layte R, McCrory C. Growing Up in Ireland – National Longitudinal Study of Children: Overweight and Obesity Among 9-Year-Olds. Dublin, Stationery Office; November 2011.
3Bel Serrat S, Heinen MM, O’Malley G, Mehegan J, Murrin C, Kelleher CK. Trends in the prevalence of childhood obesity and morbid obesity in the Republic of Ireland – The Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2015. Obesity Facts 2018;11(Suppl 1):43. DOI:10.1159/000497797.
4Ells, L.J., Rees, K., Brown, T. et al. Interventions for treating children and adolescents with overweight and obesity: an overview of Cochrane reviews. Int J Obes 2018;42, 1823–1833. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-018-0230-y.
5National Clinical Guideline Centre (UK). Obesity: Identification, Assessment and Management of Overweight and Obesity in Children, Young People and Adults. NICE clinical guidance 189. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (UK); November 2014.
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