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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Siobhan O'Connor

TV medic Dr Eva Orsmond warns Irish public not to ignore health risks linked to obesity

Telly medic Dr Eva Orsmond has backed RTE’s Operation Transformation urging the Department of Health to return to sponsoring the reality show.

The dietician, who became a household name as part of the initial line-up of experts, warned we cannot ignore the health risks linked to obesity.

She told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “For all these different movements of body positivity, they’ve forgotten how important healthy weight is. It’s fine that we don’t judge people. But we’re not talking about physical appearance, we are talking about health.”

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The Department of Health ended its sponsorship deal with Operation Transformation under the Healthy Eating fund – worth a rumoured €230,000 a year – in 2022. The RTE show, now in its 16th season, has faced a backlash from eating disorder group Bodywhys amid concerns its dieting culture may prove “triggering” for some.

In a statement last week the Department of Health said the show’s format and core message had nothing to do with the funding decision.

It said: “The many positive elements of the show, which align with the Health Ireland goals, continue to expand.

“Any suggestion that the decision not to sponsor Operation Transformation came as a result of a ‘backlash’ from eating disorder groups is not correct.”

During the 2022 Op Trans run, almost 800 GAA clubs signed up for the community walking initiative, expanding to 1,225 this year.

Dr Eva, often criticised for her no-nonsense approach, said: “The rolls of fat themselves are not dangerous.

“But the visceral fat, which is the fat that sits behind the belly button which you can’t see, creates an inflammatory compound.

“It creates a low grade of inflammation which is connected to everything and anything from cardiovascular disease to type 2 Diabetes, autoimmune conditions.

“It’s cancerous, the visceral fat has a role in so many conditions.”

Finnish-born Dr Eva, who runs a health retreat in Portugal with her ex husband Wyatt, said TV programmes like Operation Transformation are vital promote good health.

She said: “In this country where it’s near enough that 70% of people are overweight or obese people need this type of motivation or inspiration to watch their weight.

“The word obese is almost a bad word... Are we even allowed to use the word obese any more?

“Obese is when someone carries so much excess weight it’s considered a chronic disease.

“These people should try to reach a healthier weight that is manageable and at least try to somehow reduce the risk factors.

“If we are going full speed into body positivity there is a risk that we don’t even try to reach or maintain a healthier weight.”

In a statement RTE said: “RTE had a commercial arrangement with Healthy Ireland in relation to the sponsorship of Operation Transformation.

“This commercial partnership came to a natural end when the 2022 series finished.

“The 2023 series has been met by an overwhelmingly positive reaction from audiences across the country and community engagement is higher than ever.”

Dr Eva said: “I think we need programmes like this.

“I was always trying to get people to cook at home and do the recipes.

“It’s not that I was harsh but it just comes across like that sometimes – I’m just so passionate about the topic.”


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