Questions to the Minister for Health (Dr. James Reilly, TD)
To ask the Minister for Health the progress being made by the special action group on obesity; when a final report from the group is expected; if consultations will be held on any recommendations from the group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer
To ask the Minister for Health following the Irish Society for Rheumatology 2013 annual meeting, which was told by a leading expert that Europe is facing an epidemic of osteoarthritis due to abesity and ageing; the measures being taken to counteract this problem here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday 5th November 2013
I set up a Special Action Group on Obesity, comprising representatives from the Department of Health, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of Education and Skills, the Health Service Executive, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and Safefood to examine and progress a number of issues to address the problem of obesity.
The Group is concentrating on a range of measures including actions such as: calorie on menus in restaurants, how best to support healthy eating choices, the supply of healthy food products in vending machines, the detection and treatment of obesity, healthy eating guidelines and the promotion of physical activity. Recently I launched a three year Childhood Obesity Campaign. The Group will liaise with other Departments and organisations in a cross-sectoral approach to help halt the rise in overweight and obesity.
Progress has been made on the Healthy Eating guidelines, Calories on Menus initiative and I was presented with a Report last week on recommendations to reduce consumption of high fat, salt and sugar foods and drinks from the Top Shelf of the Food Pyramid. Arising out of the Irish Presidency of the EU and the Informal Meeting of Health Minister’s, the EU Commissioner supported the call for an EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity to be developed by the EU High Level Group On Nutrition and Physical Activity. This Plan has been drafted and will be finalised before the end of the year.