Dublin doctors help win heavyweight obesity congress

Ireland’s ongoing work tackling obesity has helped secure a groundbreaking event expected to attract some 2,300 specialists in obesity research, education and management.

The four-day conference in Dublin in 2020 will bring together the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) and the World Obesity Federation for the first time for a joint conference, ECO/ICO 2020.

The win is testament to Ireland’s growing reputation as a knowledge centre and conference destination for the healthcare industry, particularly paediatric care.

Dublin Convention Bureau worked with the Association for the Study of Obesity Ireland (ASOI) to win the business, expected to be worth €3.7 million for the Irish economy. A major force in the bid, Dr Grace O’Malley, ASOI Chair & STAR Research Lecturer, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, works clinically at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital where she has led the development and implementation of a paediatric obesity service. She also works with the Childhood Obesity Task Force of EASO; the European Childhood Obesity Group and the Paediatric group of the World Confederation of Physical Therapists.

The conference will provide an opportunity to highlight and enhance the work being done in the field in Ireland, where 1 in 4 children and 6 in 10 adults are overweight or obese. These include “A Healthy Weight for Ireland’, the multi-faceted Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016 – 2025 by the Irish Department of Health; and the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) at the University College Dublin’s National Nutrition Surveillance Centre.

Dr O’Malley said: “We have no doubt that the 2020 meeting will merge scientific excellence, public health advocacy and stimulating debate with an authentic welcome and fun social programme. We look forward to bringing the world’s most expert scientific minds to Dublin for ICO-ECO, so that we can create a lasting legacy to enhance obesity prevention and treatment in Ireland.”

This September, Fáilte Ireland’s Dublin Convention Bureau announced that it has generated more than €46m of new business for the city in 2017 so far. As well as ECO/ICO, it recently secured the European Federation of Periodontology’s 3rd Masterclinic, also in 2020, which will deliver 800 delegates with an estimated value of €1.3m.

Specialist sectors in Dublin – and targets for international conferences – alongside healthcare include the pharmaceutical, ICT, financial and international service industries.

Dublin Convention Bureau manager Sam Johnston, said: “We are putting greater emphasis on widening out the season so that events can capitalise on quieter parts of the tourism season, and as we look to 2018 and beyond, we plan to introduce a ten year strategy for the growth of Ireland’s business tourism sector that will double the value to the local economy in that timeframe.”

(via Fáilte Ireland, Hospitality Ireland)