Enforcing ‘No Fry Zones’ around our schools would be a very welcome step in the battle against obesity.
This is something that I have campaigned for for some time and I’m delighted to see it included in the Fine Gael Manifesto, which was launched on Sunday last, February 14th.
The 2013 guidelines for the development of local area plans state that a plan can seek to reduce the exposure of children to the promotion of foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar through the careful consideration of the appropriateness and/or location of fast food outlets in the vicinity of schools and parks. However as the Fine Gael Manifesto points out there has been little adherence to these guidelines.
It’s great to see that if re-elected Fine Gael is pledging to examine proposals to better encourage adherence to these guidelines.
There is a clear imperative to limit access to unhealthy fast foods for children. A quarter of 11-year-olds are now clinically obese. We are facing an obesity time bomb, which I have spoken about on many previous occasions.
A study of Irish childhood obesity recently revealed that children who are obese have an 82% chance of remaining so into adulthood, compared with just 15% of children with a normal weight in childhood. I believe we need to do everything possible to stop that, and this is one such tool we can use.
Fine Gael has a long term economic plan to keep the recovery going, which includes three steps: more and better jobs, making work pay and investing in better services. More people in work creates the resources to cut taxes for working people and invest in better services, improving living standards for all.