Dublin Senator Catherine Noone, has today (Monday) backed a campaign to make Irish schools and pre-schools sweet-free zones.
I have long highlighted the dangers of the growing childhood obesity problem in Ireland and have previously called for the removal of sweets and chocolate bars from vending machines in schools, replacing them with healthy alternatives.
The World Health Organisation has predicted Ireland is on course to be the fattest country in Europe by 2030 and currently 1 in 4 children is overweight or obese. One fifth of the energy intake from a child’s diet today comes from sugary drinks, biscuits, confectionary, chocolate and cake.
Last year a top school uniform supplier in Dublin revealed that an increasing number of Irish seven-year-olds are being fitted for ‘adult’ or plus fit school uniforms.
This is an alarming trend and I welcome all efforts to tackle this huge problem. The ‘Sweets out for School’ campaign is a bid to convince the Education Minister that sweets shouldn’t be given out as classroom treats.
Kate Guerin – who is behind the campaign – said she stopped handing out sweets as treats to its children a few years ago. She says that giving kids sweets for getting something right in school is teaching children at a very young age that sugar is a reward.
I totally agree and would add my voice to the calls for a Ministerial Directive to remove sweets from schools and pre-schools in Ireland.