Ireland’s Only Child Obesity Service Does Improve Health Outcomes
New research from RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences has analysed the impact of Ireland’s only child obesity service for children and adolescents.
This study, conducted by the RCSI Obesity Research and Care Group and published in ‘Frontiers in Nutrition’, found that the W82GO Child and Adolescent Obesity Service at CHI Temple Street improves obesity-related outcomes for children and adolescents.
The W82GO Service is the only dedicated centre for paediatric and adolescent obesity management in the Republic of Ireland. It delivers tailored obesity interventions, including dietetic, psychological, medical, physiotherapy and medical social work support, as recommended by scientific guidelines.
As part of the W82GO Service, patients are referred by a paediatrician and then assessed by a physiotherapist, dietician and psychologist to develop personalised obesity treatment plans with the family, based on the child’s age and clinical need.
In this study, the researchers looked at outcomes for almost 700 children and adolescents from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds who had engaged with the service over 12 years. By comparing growth chart data from the baseline and final visit, they demonstrated an overall reduction in sex- and age-adjusted BMI across the cohort, indicating that engagement with the W82GO Service is linked to improvements in health. The findings showed that younger children especially benefited from the treatment.
Dr Grace O’Malley, Lecturer in the RCSI School of Physiotherapy and senior author on the paper, commented on the findings, “childhood obesity is a chronic disease that requires multidisciplinary and specialist intervention, however, access to treatment is limited globally. We must evaluate the impact of evidence-based interventions in real-world settings in order to increase the translation of research into practice and enhance child health outcomes.”
“Our research shows that the W82GO Service is an important intervention for managing severe obesity in children and young people. In particular, we found that the intervention was especially impactful for younger service users, and those who engaged in the service for more than 12 months.”
Additional analysis revealed no significant association between change in BMI and any of the other parameters such as treatment type, sex, obesity category at admission or presence of comorbid conditions. Further research is needed to assess the impact of the W82GO Service on additional health-related factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, physical fitness and mental health.