Programme for Government plan on childhood obesity welcome

By June Shannon Obesity News   |   16th Jun 2020

The new Programme for Government commits to a number of measures to tackle childhood obesity

The Irish Heart Foundation has welcomed provisions contained in the new Programme for Government document to deliver a Public Health (Childhood Obesity) Act, including new restrictions on junk food marketing and the introduction of No-Fry Zones around schools.

Under the heading “A Healthier Future”, the Programme for Government document commits to tackling obesity by introducing a Public Health Obesity Act, which includes an examination of restrictions on promotions and advertising aimed at children.

It also promises to introduce planning restrictions on outlets selling high calorie or junk food and drink near schools.

Head of Advocacy with the Irish Heart Foundation, Chris Macey, said the plans provided the foundation to implement a programme that could cut the rate of childhood obesity in Ireland by 50 per cent by 2030.

According to Mr Macey, “The State’s own research estimates that 85,000 of this generation of children in Ireland will die prematurely due to overweight and obesity. By delivering on the agenda put forward by many of the country’s foremost experts in the Irish Heart Foundation’s recent Childhood Obesity Manifesto, this agreement between the parties involved in Government negotiations can transform the future health of our young people.”

He added, however, that the imposition of a new sugar tax to help pay the economic cost to the State of the COVID-19 emergency must not impact on investment in measures to fight obesity and that a portion of the levy should be ring-fenced to deliver a healthier food environment for our children.

“The State’s own research estimates that 85,000 of this generation of children in Ireland will die prematurely due to overweight and obesity,"

Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy, The Irish Heart Foundation

In November last year, the Irish Heart Foundation launched its groundbreaking childhood obesity manifesto that aims to cut the rate of childhood obesity in Ireland in half by 2030.

It is estimated that overweight and obesity will be responsible for the deaths of 85,000 children on the island of Ireland and currently, children as young as eight are presenting with high blood pressure while some teenagers have a heart health age of 60.

The new manifesto entitled ‘The Future for our children’s health- A Childhood Obesity Manifesto’, was developed by the Irish Heart Foundation in conjunction with leading obesity experts, parents, and young people and makes a total of 58 recommendations under 12 separate headings.

The recommendations include making tackling childhood obesity a national health priority, a ban on all unhealthy food and drink marketing to under 18s as well as a ban on the sale of junk food in schools and a need to change the built environment to promote more healthy and active lives.

For more information on our childhood obesity campaign please see here.

You can read more about the Irish Heart Foundation’s ‘Stop Targeting Kids’ campaign, which is calling for a ban on junk food marketing to children here, and we also welcome you to sign our petition here.

We are here for you

The Irish Heart Foundation’s nurse support line is available five days a week. Anyone living with heart disease and stroke who has concerns or questions about the coronavirus can contact the nurse support line on 01 668 5001 or support@irishheart.ie.

The Irish Heart Foundation’s new heart support group is on Facebook. Anyone who lives with heart failure or another heart condition or has a family member living with a heart condition can join here: www.facebook.com/groups/heartsupportnetwork/

The Irish Heart Foundation runs 21 stroke support groups and 5 heart failure groups around the country. All these groups have moved to telephone and online support. For more information, see https://irishheart.ie/get-support/.

The Irish Heart Foundation in conjunction with the HSE National Stroke Programme, has launched a new telephone support service for stroke patients who have recently been discharged from hospital. For more information, see here.

Please support our work

If you found this article helpful and would like to donate to the Irish Heart Foundation please see here.

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childhood obesity childhood obesity manifesto high blood pressure Obesity programme for government stop targeting kids sugar drinks tax

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