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Minister: The number of obese three-year-olds in Ireland is frightening

Frances Fitzgerald said she was concerned about figures in a report published today which found “examples of three-year-olds eating hamburgers and crisps”.

Image: child eating image via Shutterstock

THE LEVEL OF obesity among young children in Ireland has been described as “frightening” by Minister Frances Fitzgerald, following the publication of a report on three-year-olds in Ireland.

The Growing up in Ireland Study found that 25 per cent of three-year-olds were overweight.

“We have examples here of three-year-olds eating hamburgers and crisps – that’s the reality,” she said today, on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland. “The diets of some people in particular are absolutely very poor but across all classes you do have this problem”.

The minister said that this demonstrated the importance of early intervention at pre-school level as well as supporting parents and focusing more on play and recreation.

“There is evidence from other countries that you can interrupt this cycle,” she said.

Fitzgerald recognised that the report has pointed to lower levels if health in children in poorer families and said that the government would now have to work on job creation, as this is “the best way out of poverty”.

Related: Life as a 3-year-old Growing Up In Ireland>

More: Latest study findings show huge impact of recession on families>

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