Comprehensive Strategy Needed To Tackle Obesity
Sinn Féin MLA Michelle Gildernew has said that a multi faceted strategies is the key to tackling the obesity problem that we are facing.
Ms. Gildernew stated,
“There is no doubt that there is a growing problem with obesity and unless this is tackled now in a multi faceted way we will face a huge cost in addressing the health repercussions in the years ahead.
“Healthy eating and exercise are core to maintaining a level of fitness but education, addressing poverty and the provision of facilities is just as or even more important in creating the conditions that will combat obesity.
“Children should be educated on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle from an early age and encouraged to put that education into practice. However to put this into practice we need to provide play parks, recreation areas and sports centres so that people have affordable facilities to exercise.
“Obesity in areas of high deprivation is on the increase so it is important that tackling poverty is core to any strategy that will allow families to buy nutritional foods and participate in activities such as swimming and other sporting arenas.
“Breast feeding can help reduce child obesity and more should be done to encourage mothers to breastfeed.
"The comprehensive strategy needs to consider the negative impact which television and other mass media advertising of unhealthy sugar rich foods and drinks has on children and young people when making lifestyle choices. It is our view that such advertising is limited in the same manner as has occurred with the advertising of alcohol and tobacco products"
“By giving families the knowledge on how to live a healthy lifestyle it will allow more and more people to make informed choices and this will begin to address the number of people who are now diagnosed as clinically obese."