Weight management services for adults–highlighting the role of primary care

Type Article

Journal Article


S. J. Hassan; D. O'Shea

Year of publication



Ir Med J








Ireland has the fourth highest prevalence of overweight and obese men in the European Union and the seventh highest prevalence among women. This study focuses on 777 referrals on the waiting list for Ireland's only fully funded hospital-based adult weight management service with special emphasis on the role of primary care in the referral process. Since our last review two years ago, we found that patients are now being referred at a younger age (mean 43 years). The mean BMI at referral has increased from 44 to 46. Five hundred and forty eight (70%) referrals were from primary care with males accounting for 163 (30%) of these, despite male obesity being more prevalent. Interestingly, as the distance from Dublin increased, the number of referrals decreased. Overall this is a concerning trend showing the increasing burden of obesity on a younger population and a health system inadequately equipped to deal with the problem. It also highlights the central role of the primary care physician in the timely and appropriate referral to optimise use of our available resources.