14 February 2014 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Local authorities in Co Monaghan have been urged by a leading health official to use the powers they have under the planning laws to protect children from unhealthy eating habits.

Dr Nazih Eldin, the HSE’s Lead on Obesity, told the February meeting of Monaghan Co Council that planning legislation should be used to ensure that fast food premises were not located in the vicinity of schools.

“If this was any other issue, we would have stopped everything else and just concentrated on it,” Dr Eldin told the members, pointing to statistics that indicated that one in every four three-year-olds in Ireland was now overweight or obese.

“When I started in medicine in the 1970s this figure was just 1% or 2%, and this was due in the main to genetic or inherited diseases,” he stated, adding that findings published in 2010 showed that almost one in every four seven-year-olds were overweight or obese, a condition that also now affected two out of every three adults in Ireland.

The Council adopted a proposal from P J O’Hanlon, seconded by John O’Brien, calling on Minister for Health Dr James Reilly to implement new food labelling systems giving calorie counts for each product, and requesting him to do away with VAT on bottled water.

Outlining the medical complications linked to obesity, Dr Eldin told the meeting that its link to heart and liver diseases and cancer was now well known. If they dealt with this problem by the age of five, they ensured the risk was very low – however, if they left it
for even a small number of years the risk would increase.

He pointed out that the HSE was providing support to …

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