FOR many Irish people, a sociable evening out would not be complete without a quick stop at the food takeaway on the way home.
On those busy days when we just can't face cooking, some pizza, a kebab, a burger, fried rice or noodles just might fill a gap. Often we know we are not doing our health and fitness much good – but consciences are salved with a promise to intensify the imagined exercise regime tomorrow.
But hold on a minute. Research by the Irish Independent today shows that takeaway visit could be inflicting double the damage we previously thought.
That convenience meal could deliver well over the recommended entire daily calorie intake and burst all advisable limits on salt and sugar.
In simple terms, it could be a one-way ticket to a heart attack or a stroke with serious long-term consequences for ourselves and our families.
Even if we are lucky enough to avoid that calamity, there is the danger of passing on hugely damaging eating habits to our children and other young people.
Obesity, diabetes and other chronic health conditions are rapidly and dangerously on the rise in this country.
Health Minister James Reilly is to be applauded for 'encouraging' food outlets to give fuller details of the calorie content of the products they serve.
Dr Reilly will be fully justified in taking tougher action if he doesn't get the necessary co-operation.
It is high time many of us got some sense about our eating and exercise habits.