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Ireland on course to be the fattest country in Europe by 2030

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) is calling for tougher control on tobacco, obesity and alcohol.

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IRELAND COULD BE on track to become the fattest country in Europe by 2030 if urgent action isn’t taken.

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) has issued this warning as part of its pre-budget submission.

It is calling for a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, more resources for research and more action to be taken to tackle childhood obesity.

The obesity figures cited by the RCPI come from the World Health Organisation. The RCPI has said that it is aware that one in four children in Ireland is classified as overweight or obese.

Speaking about the proposal, the RCPI’s chair of its policy group on obesity, Prof Donal O’Shea, said, “The Government, like the food and drinks industry, is happy to talk about personal responsibility and choice.

This is no longer good enough when we know that the environment is responsible for a major part of the problem.

In its submission the body has called on the government to place tougher controls on obesity, tobacco and alcohol.

Speaking about this, Prof Frank Murray, president of the RCPI, said that legislative action taken by the government, specifically in the area of alcohol abuse, had the potential to save lives.

“Targeted evidence-based measures introduced by Government initiatives have been successfully shown to save lives and reduce harm,” he said.

Our hospitals are overcrowded, a problem exacerbated by the fact that at least 1,500 hospital beds are taken up every night as a result of alcohol.

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The group encouraged all politicians to support the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill to allow it to become legislation during the lifetime of the current Dáil.

One of the key measures included in the bill is setting a minimum pricing for alcohol units, which it is hoped would combat alcohol abuse.

The group is also calling for further increases to excise duty on cigarettes and VAT to be removed or reduced on nicotine replacement patches.

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