There is more than a two-year waiting list for obese children in Ireland, according to a Weight Management Service at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital in Dublin.
The W82Go! service was established 14 years ago in response to the increasing health problems associated with childhood obesity and has treated more than 1,500 children.
Almost half (49%) of the children treated last year were aged under 10 years; 29% were aged between 11 and 13 years and 22% were 14 years or older.
Professor Donal O'Shea, the HSE Clinical Lead for Obesity, says children and adolescents need to be treated locally.
He said: "When I took up the HSE lead post for obesity last year, there was a clear policy that had been drawn up by the GPs and by the hospital-based medical people.
"We have got to deliver the treatment for overweight and obese people close to the where people live.
"So, if you're bringing people 60, 70, 80 miles for what you know needs to be a regular intervention, it just doesn't work."