A Government report is calling for new planning regulations to prevent fast food outlets opening near schools.
The Oireachtas Children’s Committee Report on Childhood Obesity has made 20 recommendations aimed at tackling the challenges posed by the rise in obesity among Irish children.
The committee said the “No Fry Zones” should be complemented by a ban on vending machines in schools, stricter controls on junk food advertising and an audit to find out which schools need better sports facilities.
It also urges action in tackling obesity among children from lower income areas – and calls for a study to identify 'obesity hotspots' and areas suffering food poverty.
This morning, the chair of the committee, Alan Farrell TD called for the recommendations to be implemented in full.
“We owe it to our children, younger citizens, and future generations to ensure action is taken now to provide them with the skills, knowledge and supports to live healthier lives, and have stronger futures,” he said.
“We cannot, and must not, fail our young people in this regard.”
He warned that “as many as one-in-four children are overweight or obese.”
“These children are more likely to remain overweight or obese into adulthood,” he said.
“By equipping our younger generation with the necessary knowledge and skills, and providing the necessary supports to families, communities, schools, and sectors of society which work directly with young people, including the youth work sector, we can empower children and young people to lead healthier lives as they grow older.”
A recent report estimated that over 85,500 people will die early as a result of childhood obesity in Ireland.