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05th Jan 2022

Bodywhys issues statement on Operation Transformation ahead of its RTÉ return

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Operation Transformation is back tonight.

The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland Bodywhys has broken their silence regarding concerns over the new series of Operation Transformation, which is set to return to RTÉ tonight.

After correspondence and concerns from the public, Bodywhys has released a statement regarding some viewers “distress” and how the show can have negative impacts on their mental health.

Taking to Instagram with a lengthy statement, Bodywhys wrote: “Bodywhys, the Eating Disorders Association of Ireland, has
received a great deal of correspondence and concerns, which we share, regarding the programme ‘Operation Transformation’, set to return to RTÉ on January 5th.

“Many of our service users have highlighted that the show has been and continues to be triggering for them, causes them distress and impacts negatively on their mental health. This is, in particular, for those who have or live with a person with an eating disorder, or those experiencing disordered eating.

“Although the show has a positive objective intending to bring focus to health and well-being, the considerable emphasis on dieting, body weight and shape and the way these are measured, collectively counted and presented, create a community sanctioned dieting culture that research shows does little to achieve long-lasting weight loss or health promotion.”

Adding that they have contacted the producers of the show, Bodywhys says they are looking for a more inclusive approach to the series and for more disclaimers to be added to the series.


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They continued: “Anecdotally, we have heard that when the show is broadcast, a wave of pressure and conversations about food, calories, eating behaviours and exercising emerges in homes, workplaces and communities, where health messages become conflated with discipline and a numbers game that is unhelpful at least and damaging at worst.

“We cannot ignore the fact that hospital admissions for young people with eating disorders have risen by 66% and by 32% amongst adults, with increases also reflected across all community, specialist and inpatient services, including more acute presentations and admissions.

“Faced with this growing problem, programmes that are supported by public health initiatives need to take account of the audience they are broadcasting to, and ensure that they have appropriate signposting information at the very least. It is important that we are all aware of the impact this pressure can have on people of all different age groups and backgrounds in our society.”

While the association noted that there is an abundance of other factors when it comes to an eating disorder, they asked for the media to take responsibility as it “plays a role” in adding to certain stigmas, especially asking RTÉ as it is the national broadcaster.

Hoping the show moves away from “shaming or measuring/counting as a tool for motivation,” they hope to see it “live up to its name” and promote well-being in a more inclusive and diverse way.

If you have been affected by anything in this article, you can contact Bodywhys at (01) 2107906 from Monday, Wednesday and Sunday 7.30pm-9.30pm and Saturday 10.30am-12.30pm, or email [email protected] anytime.