An Oireachtas report on childhood obesity has made a number of recommendations to ensure that a “whole system” approach is taken to tackle childhood obesity.
Among the 20 main recommendations is the idea of making Home Economics compulsory for secondary school students to take for the junior cycle.
The committee wants 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 government to tighten planning laws nationwide, to prevent the opening of new fast-food outlets near schools.
The report wants measures to tackle higher obesity levels among children from lower income areas – suggesting a study to identify ‘obesity hotspots’ and areas suffering food poverty.
The chair of the Committee, Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell said that as many as one in four children are overweight or obese, and that the prevalence of obesity among children and young adults is one of the most urgent health concerns facing policy makers.