Press Release

Minister Wallace addresses the Inaugural Seminar of the Nutrition and Health Foundation: “Positive Approaches to Obesity”

Speaking at the opening of the Seminar of the Nutrition and Health Foundation ‘Positive Approaches to Obesity’ today (23rd September, 2008), Ms Mary Wallace, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for Health Promotion and Food Safety, welcomed the opportunity for debate on the subject of obesity.

The prevalence of overweight and obesity has been described by the World Health Organisation as an epidemic and one of the most serious public health challenges facing mankind. Ireland is no different from other countries in terms of obesity trends. Obesity is a complex condition that significantly impacts on all ages and socio-economic groups.

“The importance of addressing and halting the rise in obesity is critical and as Minister for Health Promotion I am making this issue one of my top priorities” the Minister said

The National Taskforce on Obesity highlighted the need for ‘joined-up’ policy, cross collaboration between all key stakeholders and real, practical engagement by both the public and the private sectors. A key sector in this is of course the food industry. “The industry, at all levels, from research, production and marketing has an enormous influence on our diet and we must engage with them more if we are to tackle obesity successfully.” said the Minister

Recognising the need to take a coherent ‘whole of Government’ approach to the wider determinants of health, and in particular to tackling the obesogenic environment, the Minister said she had written to relevant colleagues in Government on this issue.

“I intend to work closely with Government colleagues for the continued implementation of the recommendations of the Taskforce as they affect both my own and other Government Departments.”she said.

Read the Minister’s speech