Lipo and gastric bands cost State €2k a day
Liposuction treatment and various surgeries to remove excess body fat in seriously overweight patients is now costing the health service €2,000 a day.
New data confirms the number of surgical procedures on obese patients is on the rise.
Ireland, along with the UK, is set to become the most overweight European country within a decade, according to a study published in The Lancet.
Official HSE figures show that a total of 142 liposuction and lipectomy surgeries were carried out in state-run hospitals in 2013, costing €662,580. By 2015, the number jumped to 159, resulting in an overall bill of €756,940 - an average of €4,700 per procedure.
In a statement, the HSE said the figures related to a range of procedures, including gastric banding, gastric bypass, gastric reduction and liposuction.
In some cases, the HSE did not pay for the full operation.
However, it is not possible, according to accounts held centrally, to distinguish between procedures funded by the medical card scheme, and operations covered by private insurance.
A number of celebrities, including Vanessa Feltz and Fern Britton, have had gastric surgeries in the past to help them successfully lose weight.
The latest weight-loss surgery trends comes as new figures show the Irish Army is also fighting an unlikely battle of the bulge.
Nearly half of all women (41pc) who wanted to join the Defence Forces failed a basic fitness test last year.
Would-be female soldiers in the Defence Forces must undergo a number of exercises, including press-ups, sit-ups, and a run "against the clock".
The test is designed to assess a candidate's basic level of fitness, and their capacity to cope with the "rigours of military training".
An applicant must be able to perform 20 sit-ups, and 20 press-ups, each within a one-minute period.
However, women applicants are allowed to do "modified" push-ups, with their knees on the floor, making it less challenging than a classic push-up.
And while men must be able to run a mile-and-a-half in at least 11 minutes 40 seconds, females are given 13 minutes 10 seconds to do so.
In 2014, some 56pc of women failed to achieve the required standard.
Weight-loss expert Dr Eva Orsmond, said: "These fitness figures are worrying and quite shocking - applicants know that the Army involves physical activity and that they need to be fit."
Ger Conroy, a Dublin-based personal trainer, said that while individual fitness levels differ, it shouldn't take longer than two weeks to prepare for such a test, even for total beginners.