Dublin, Ireland – The Irish government has announced a new plan to tackle the country’s growing obesity epidemic. The plan, called “Healthy Ireland”, aims to reduce the number of people who are overweight or obese by 5% over the next decade.
The plan, which was launched by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris, includes a number of measures to encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. These measures include a sugar tax on soft drinks, a ban on advertising unhealthy food to children, and a new physical activity plan for schools.
The sugar tax, which will come into effect in April 2018, will apply to all drinks with a sugar content of 5g or more per 100ml. The tax will be levied at a rate of 30 cent per litre, and is expected to raise around €40 million per year.
The ban on advertising unhealthy food to children will come into effect in June 2018. The ban will apply to all media, including television, radio, print and online. The aim of the ban is to reduce the exposure of children to unhealthy food advertising, which is seen as a major contributor to childhood obesity.
The physical activity plan for schools, which will be introduced in September 2018, aims to encourage children to be more active. The plan includes a new physical education curriculum, which will be compulsory for all primary and secondary schools.
The plan has been welcomed by health experts, who have long been calling for action to tackle Ireland’s obesity epidemic. According to the latest figures, 60% of Irish adults are overweight or obese, while one in four children is overweight or obese.
However, the plan has also been criticised by some who argue that it does not go far enough. The Irish Heart Foundation, for example, has called for a more comprehensive approach, including a ban on junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed.
In response, the government has said that the plan is just the first step in a long-term strategy to tackle obesity in Ireland. “We know that this is a complex issue, and there is no one solution that will work for everyone,” said Minister Harris. “But we are committed to taking action, and we believe that this plan is a positive first step.”
The plan has also been welcomed by the food and drink industry, which has pledged to work with the government to promote healthier lifestyles. “We are committed to playing our part in tackling this issue,” said Neil Murphy of the Irish Beverage Council. “We believe that the sugar tax is a fair and effective measure, and we are committed to reducing the sugar content of our products.”
Overall, the “Healthy Ireland” plan represents a significant step forward in the fight against obesity in Ireland. While there are still challenges to be overcome, the plan provides a solid foundation for future action, and demonstrates the government’s commitment to improving the health of the Irish people.