Broadcaster Ray D’Arcy was forced to defend RTÉ’s Operation Transformation, after it was slammed by Health Expert Jacky Jones.
Speaking to Ray on his RTÉ Radio One show, the Irish Times Health Columnist stated that she has nothing personal against the show but continued saying, “personally I really hate to see the people parading out in their lycra and I kind of don’t think it’s unnecessary, it’s just really bad health promotion”.
She added that, “if you’re trying to do something about changing people’s habits… That isn’t how you go about it. You go about it through public policy and fiscal policy and so on”.
As The Ray D’Arcy Show partners with Operation Transformation, Ray retorted by saying, “I don’t think Operation Transformation would ever claim that it’s fighting obesity on its own, it’s part of a bigger picture and isn’t something better than nothing?”
Ms Jones replied with, “I wouldn’t think so.”
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Jacky, who is the former HSE West Regional Manager of Health Promotion Services and a member of the Healthy Ireland Council said, “the focus is on individuals and if all of the people out there who have weight problems at the moment, if they were all given the support of four health professionals for seven weeks or whatever it is, eight weeks, they would be able to change too.”
Ms Jones added, “The focus is on the individual instead of the whole population.”
The Health Expert continued by saying, “Since Operation Transformation started, which was about 10 years ago, obesity has probably doubled, I’d say…maybe not doubled, that’s an exaggeration.”
However, Ray questioned her statistics about the drop in obesity levels since 2017, adding that “maybe Operation Transformation had a hand in that”.
Ms Jones replied, “I doubt it”.
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In response to the criticism, RTÉ have said that the statistics since the show started proved otherwise.
“The series does not promise to transform peoples’ lives in a few weeks. Rather, the series is a launch pad to encourage people to get healthier and change their attitudes towards food, lifestyle and self-esteem,” a spokesperson told Independent.ie.
RTÉ added that, “Safefood – the sponsor for the series – conducted research and found that in 2016, over 280,000 people reported losing weight as a result of following OT with a third of those reporting losing between 6 and 12 pounds.”