The National obesity treatment programme is born in response to Ireland having one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe. There is no sign of improvement in the near future and the resulting wave of chronic diseases caused by or made worse by obesity, such as heart disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes, will further burden the healthcare bill, which is already under great pressure.
Costs for treating obesity in Ireland is currently estimated at €0.4 billion (Irish Heart Foundation Obesity Fact Sheet) and according to the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, this is far off the mark with four out of five of the over-50s in Ireland being either overweight or obese. The actual cost of treating the direct and indirect effects of obesity, according to the Department of Health is €1.13 Billion.
The National Obesity treatment programme - a solution to Ireland's obesity levels?
Something obviously needs to be done, and calls have been made from The Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism to introduce a national obesity treatment programme, as reported in RTE News.
There seems to be a collective governmental push across Europe to tackle the rising obesity levels by using a multidisciplinary national obesity treatment programme that includes a mixture of diet, exercise, weight loss medicine, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and surgery. If only there was some convincing evidence that any of these approaches was really effective. Most overweight people have already tried these treatments without much sustained benefit.
The UK is currently in the process of launching their own National Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP) which aims to tackle the prevention and treatment of obesity related type 2 diabetes. The UK National obesity treatment programme may also be less than effective.
The similarities of the Ireland Department of Health's; National obesity treatment programme policy document, A Healthy Weight for Ireland, Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016-2025 and the UK NDPP is stark. The claims made by obesity experts seem dubious yet again. They simply re-state the mantra of eat less and exercise more, blaming the overweight person for being gluttonous and lazy.
Professor Francis Finucane, Consultant in Obesity and Endocrinology, Galway University Hospital, said in the RTE article dedicated obesity treatment programmes help patients lose 10% or more body weight. This may occasionally be true, especially when the treatment includes bariatric surgery, but evidence for widespread treatment success this high is quite sparse.
The evidence used in developing the UK National Diabetes Prevention Programme demonstrated this is unlikely if lifestyle based interventions are used. Assessment of similar programmes from across the world showed an insignificant decrease in weight of 1.57% at 12 to 18 months when compared with "usual care". The effect on diabetes was also far less than you would expect. The claimed 26% reduction of diabetes incidence is questionable since results after surgery are not much higher.
Bariatric surgery, often hailed as the ultimate solution to obesity and type 2 diabetes, has a poor record when it comes to weight management success. The only surgical method that is reported to have reasonable benefit to diabetes appears to be bypass.
Effect of the definition of type II diabetes remission in the evaluation of bariatric surgery for metabolic disorders D. J. Pournaras et al.
1006 patients underwent surgery, of whom 209 had type II diabetes.
- 72 of 209 (34·4%) patients had complete remission of diabetes.
- 65 of 160 (40·6%) after gastric bypass,
- 5 of 19 (26%) after sleeve gastrectomy
- 2 of 30 (7%) after gastric banding
In this study of 209 type 2 diabetics who underwent bariatric surgery, only 34.4% had complete diabetic remission.
It concluded that "Focusing on improved glycaemic control rather than remission may better reflect the benefit of this type of surgery".
So yet again the focus of these national programmes seem to move quickly towards bariatric surgery, with obesity experts claiming a possible €56m saving in medication costs over the past ten years. The figures were based on doing a minimum of 400 operations a year on patients with obesity and difficult to control diabetes.
Where do we get the money and the surgeons to carry out the operations? With 1 million Irish adults being overweight or obese, this level of intervention will not make a dent in the obesity problem in Ireland even if were true.
Published in 2016 the obesity strategy for Ireland says there is no single action alone that will deal with the problem. Especially if they continue to ignore a treatment that has been proven to be effective.
The Lipotrim Ireland pharmacy weight management programme
It is apparent that the authorities are ignoring the efforts made by the pharmacies in Ireland over the last decade. The Lipotrim pharmacy weight management programme has been, and still remains, available throughout Ireland, as an evidence-based weight management programme. The results obtained from audit of Lipotrim pharmacies in Ireland demonstrate the high value the government should place on their pharmacy network.
The Lipotrim programme relies on the pharmacy network monitoring their patients in need of weight loss and weight management whilst the patient is on the Lipotrim programme. The multi-phase strategy covers the weight loss phase through to long term weight maintenance.
Being patient funded, the Lipotrim programme exists to improve the health of Ireland through the significant weight losses achieved, and all without cost to the state. Weight loss benefits the medical conditions usually related to obesity, meaning the Lipotrim programme has the ability to profoundly reduce the country's health bill.
These are exciting times for all of us, even though there has recently been a company passing off their new and untested programme as Lipotrim rebranded and reformulated. Neither claim is true. As the old statement goes "claims to my death have been greatly exaggerated".
Lipotrim Ireland is currently fine and well.
And it turns out that some of the compositional claims of the new products may be insufficient to meet the standards of Irish Legislation.
What is the conclusion to the Ireland Obesity Treatment programme?
Remember surgery is a serious option, resulting in many long term health problems, and can be prone to failure like other weight loss methods.
The results to date, through traditional lifestyle advice, to help people lose weight are pitiful; hence the increasing obesity statistics.
Lipotrim however provides the option to lose weight rapidly, healthily and without a cost to the state. The programme incorporates lifestyle advice throughout and is especially effective once the weight has lost and needs to be maintained.
What can I do now?
If you are looking to lose weight please find your local pharmacy and enrol onto their Lipotrim programme, making sure it is really Lipotrim.
Your local pharmacy can quickly and easily add themselves to the network of Lipotrim pharmacies.
Contact Lipotrim via email or call the Lipotrim team using the local rate number 01525 5636.
What can I do as a pharmacist wanting to help tackle obesity in Ireland?
If you are connected to a pharmacy in Ireland, the National obesity treatment programme strategy is one that expects to support evidence based weight management services within the GP contract and primary care teams: Lipotrim provides this evidence.
It is critical that pharmacy takes the opportunity to develop their weight management services and gain the recognition it deserves.
Pharmacy. Do not waste this opportunity to take part in helping Ireland stem, and hopefully reverse, the high levels of obesity with Lipotrim.
Contact Lipotrim today on 00353 (0) 1525 5636