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Wanted: well-known personality to front anti-obesity campaign

A TD has called on the government to appoint a well-known name to front a campaign tackling obesity, believing it could have the same success as Gay Byrne’s presence at the Road Safety Authority.

Image: Clara Molden/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A FINE GAEL TD has said that a well-known personality should front a national campaign to tackle obesity in Ireland.

Patrick O’Donovan has suggested that a personality from the world of sport could be sought to front a campaign to tackle the issue of obesity in Ireland.

Describing obesity as “one of the biggest problems facing our nation today”, the Limerick TD suggested such an appointment could work in the same way that broadcaster Gay Byrne heads the Road Safety Authority.

“I would like the Government to consider appointing a well-known personality, perhaps from the work of sport, to front a campaign aimed at tackling our spiralling obesity problem,” he said .

This person could take up a role similar to that filled by Gay Byrne at Road Safety Authority, whose appointment has been very successful. Byrne has played a key role in raising awareness about road safety in recent years, with road deaths now at a record low.

Over 60 per cent of Irish adults and a fifth of Irish children are considered to be overweight or obese while a recent report found that one in four three-year-olds in Ireland are overweight.

“There are serious concerns amongst health professionals in Ireland regarding the growing level of obesity-related conditions, including diabetes, obesity-related cancer and psychological conditions associated with obesity,” O’Donovan continued.

The Minister for Health James Reilly has established a Special Action Group on Obesity to look at the issue.

While a so-called fat tax on junk food has been ruled out, it has been suggested that fast-foot outlets near schools could be banned and that a sugar tax could be imposed on soft drinks.

Ireland’s vital signs: The nation’s health over the last decade >

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Hugh O'Connell

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