Press release: New website to help in the fight against obesity

15 Feb 2011

Rise in obesity accounts for 31% of the anticipated increase in diabetes in the Republic

Obesity Hub

It is estimated that about 60% of adults and about 20% of children and teens in the Republic of Ireland are either overweight or obese. These percentages are expected to rise.

To help tackle the obesity epidemic; policy makers, practitioners and the community should be able to access all the relevant information they need in a timely manner.

Today, a new obesity information website called the Obesity Hub (http://obesity.thehealthwell.info) was launched in Cork.

The Obesity Hub will help health experts, social planners, campaign groups and the media to keep up-to-date and use information to respond more effectively to the obesity problem.

Speaking at University College Cork’s HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research, IPH Associate Director, Kevin Balanda said “the Obesity Hub marks a significant development in our ability to tackle obesity”.

“The Obesity Hub gathers together, in one website, different types of information related to obesity. Users can find statistical data about the level of overweight/obesity, its causes and its impact; details of government strategies and policies, information about obesity prevention and management programmes, and examples of good practice”.

The Obesity Hub is managed by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) together with its academic partners: the HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research (UCC and UCD) and the Centre for Excellence in Public Health (Queens University Belfast) and is funded through the Department of Health and Children in the Republic.

The Principal Investigator at the HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research at UCC, Ivan Perry, said: “The key to the success of the Obesity Hub is its partnership approach involving the major policy and research bodies across the island working together to share information. This will help health planners to make the best possible decisions based on the best possible information.”

Obesity and diabetes

As well as helping people access the information they need, the Obesity Hub analyses obesity related data.

For example, the Obesity Hub recently published estimates and forecasts of the number of people across the island with obesity related conditions such as hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease and diabetes. It is projected that by 2020 over 233,000 adults in the Republic will have diabetes (type 1 and type 2 combined), representing a 62% increase over 2007 levels. (See note 2). In research just posted on the Obesity Hub’s website, the IPH found that almost a third (31%) of this forecasted increase in diabetes will be as a result of obesity (http://obesity.thehealthwell.info/prevalence-obesity-related-chronic-con...).

Further Information
Ronan Cavanagh (01) 830 3116 (086) 317 9731.
Arlene McKay(048) 9069 0058 / (0773) 490 3944.
Claire-Anne Irwin (048) 908 72800

Note 1. Obesity Hub is a part of the Health Well website
The Obesity Hub website is part of the IPH’s Health Well website (http://www.thehealthwell.info) which contains comprehensive information on all aspects of public health. Other specialised information hubs on the Health Well include Fuel Poverty and with other hubs planned to go live during 2011.

Note 2.  Diabetes prevalence  
The research on the forecasted level of diabetes is part of the IPH’s Making Chronic Conditions Count research programme which aims to systematically estimate and forecast the population prevalence of chronic conditions at national and sub-national levels across the island. IPH prevalence reports on diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke and chronic airflow obstruction are all available at the Health Well at http://www.thehealthwell.info/chronic-conditions

The Institute of Public Health in Ireland
The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) promotes cooperation for public health across the island of Ireland. It aims to improve health by working to combat health inequalities and influence public policy in favour of health. Further information at www.publichealth.ie