Reduce the stigma

Children’s Health Ireland is actively committed to addressing child and adolescent obesity. Following two years of a pandemic, Dr Grace O’Malley, Clinical Lead, W82GO Child and Adolescent Obesity Service, CHI at Temple Street and Researcher at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences says World Obesity Day 2022 is an opportunity to create awareness and reduce stigma about obesity in a respectful way.

“As a child, your most important job is to have fun and to grow up into a healthy happy young adult. The last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on children’s psychosocial, physical and mental health. We have seen an increase in levels of severe obesity in children. However, many of these affected children and their families will not seek the care they need due to fear, embarrassment and blame. We need to start thinking of obesity as a disease and its important children with obesity are treated holistically.”

Resources for children, young people, families and healthcare professionals can be found at

Children’s Health Ireland is actively committed to addressing child and adolescent obesity through the following specific actions:

Commitment to improving health professional training related to child and adolescent obesity

Staff from the W82GO Child and Adolescent Obesity Service are involved in the development of online and in-person training courses for multidisciplinary health professionals. The W82GO Child and Adolescent Obesity Service was established in 2005 in response to the increasing health problems associated with childhood obesity. The service is family based and is delivered by a part-time multidisciplinary team including representatives from paediatric dietetics, paediatric physiotherapy and paediatric clinical psychology. In addition, the team is supported by an administrative support team. As a European Centre for Paediatric Obesity Management, the service engages in clinical exchange visits to host health professionals from around Europe.

Engagement in advocacy work at local, national and international levels to ensure those with obesity have equal access to non-stigmatising care for their condition

Staff from the W82GO Child and Adolescent Obesity Service are actively and regularly involved in HSE campaigns, policy work, partnerships with people living with obesity and international NGOs.

Development, delivery and evaluation of high quality paediatric care

The W82GO Service has been involved in designing, implementing and evaluating a number of complex interventions for obesity treatment over the past 18 years. Through engagement with patients, families and staff in CHI, the service optimises the quality of the service to meet demands, including development of virtual care for families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in order to maintain continuity of care while reducing risk of infection.

Development and conduct of impactful research

The W28GO Service embeds research and quality improvement within its fabric and has attracted competitive funding for research in the areas of Big Data, telehealth, development and impact of complex interventions and the impact of obesity on musculoskeletal and psychosocial health. We work with our colleagues internationally on this research.

Parents: If you are concerned about your child’s weight, contact your GP. Your GP may then deem it necessary to arrange a referral to your local paediatrician for further evaluation and treatment.