Irish Heart Foundation asks Government to protect children from obesity crisis

The Joint Oireachtas Children and Youth Affairs Committee has called for Home Economics to be a compulsory subject at a junior level.

They believe the subject will help tackle the ongoing obesity crisis in Ireland.

It is believed one in four children in Ireland are overweight or obese and it is a growing concern.

The committee has also suggested banning vending machines from school, introducing clearer guidelines about ‘fast-food outlets’ and stopping them from opening within a certain distance of schools.

Responding to the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs’ Report on Tackling Childhood Obesity, Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy with the Irish Heart Foundation said:

“This is a crucial and possibly a watershed moment in the national response to child obesity – at last there is a consensus across party lines that comprehensive regulation is needed to tackle big-ticket drivers of the crisis such as the relentless targeting of children through junk food advertising both on television and online.

“Implementing other recommendations such as the introduction of no-fry zones, a ban on vending machines in schools, improved infrastructure for physical activity and interventions targeting children in disadvantaged communities where obesity rates are highest would also represent important progress in creating a healthier environment for children.

“We congratulate the Oireachtas Children and Youth Affairs Committee and its Chairman Deputy Alan Farrell on the launch of this report. We now call on the Government to meet its duty of care to protect our children from what is undoubtedly the biggest threat to their future health by delivering the resources and the political will to put its recommendations into effect without delay.”