The Programme:

Why do we need weight-loss programmes for children?

Obesity figures in Ireland are one of the highest in Europe with 57% of Irish adults being overweight and 20% obese! Children are following the same trend! Approximately 300,000 Irish children are overweight or obese and this figure is increasing by 10,000 every year. It is estimated that the teenage obesity level is 5-10% although this is difficult to estimate and is probably more. The growing size of children's waistlines has led to a demand for adult-size school uniforms, which are now available to fit the 42-inch waist of a rising number of obese children (Irish Examiner Tuesday 28.08.2007). Parents seem to believe that the "puppy fat" will disappear but unfortunately 70% of obese teenagers will stay obese adults!

A study of diabetes in the UK asked parents to rate their own children's weight.

  • 33% of girls and 50% of boys who were obese were classified as "about right" by their parents.
  • 1/3 of the mothers and 1/2 of the fathers who were overweight or obese also rated themselves as "about right."

The problem is that parents don't know that they are obese and neither do they recognise that their children are possibly obese. When a child is clearly obese the parents seem reluctant to make a 'meal of it'. Some are afraid that the child may then become anorectic! People see anorexia as a far more serious disease while the consequences of obesity are almost as serious. Anorexia is a totally different disease and it is very rare that an obese child turns anorectic!

What can we do to help?

The Orsmond Clinics Children's Programmes follow a similar approach to that used for adults although consideration is given to child's growth needs and activity levels. VLCKD diet plans are only used in very specific circumstances and for a limited duration. Children up to the age of 17 need to do the programme with a supporting adult (ie a parent needs to do the programme at the same time). We also offer family programmes at discounted rates.

Initial Assessment

The weight management programme starts with an initial assessment (approx. 45 minutes) with Dr. Eva Orsmond. During this first meeting the parents, child and Dr. Orsmond have a chance to get to know each other. The Child's BMI will be calculated, however as BMI is not particularly accurate for children, growth and weight charts are also used to calculate a healthy target weight. The family's dietary and lifestyle habits are discussed and Dr. Orsmond will explain the basics of the Glycaemic Index.

If the child decides to enroll in the programme then a fasting blood test is required in order to exclude metabolic disorders and discover possible underlying risk factors. Bloods will be taken as part of the programme.