Renewed Focus on Obesity Treatment & Prevention Needed

I have called for a renewed focus on treatment and prevention of obesity in Ireland.

The revenue earned from the Sugar Tax in its first year stands at approximately €32 million, however without ring-fencing of these funds we cannot guarantee that the money will be used to tackle the obesity epidemic.

I believe that ring-fencing these funds and channeling them into nutritional education for both children and parents, as well as, physical activity subsidies for gyms, we can begin to tackle this crisis.

The Sugar Tax revenue could also be used to expand treatment resources for those already fighting obesity and its related diseases, currently there is only one fully funded, multidisciplinary team in Ireland to deal with obesity. While I believe prevention is always better than cure, we must also help those who already find themselves in that situation.

As we move forward in developing a modern healthcare system under Slaintecare we have the opportunity to tailor this system to the needs of the patient and treat them on a local level before it is too late.

The Netherlands currently outperforms Ireland in the field of childhood obesity and has achieved success in lowering their rate by having an integrated model of care that considers a number of different areas including, transport, education, environment and the health system.

This is a battle that we can win but we must first accept that this is a battle that is already well under way and further hesitation could result in more lives being lost to obesity and the subsequent diseases.

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