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Leo's health 'bootcamp' for public staff


Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD

Canteens offering public sector workers chocolate cake and chips, while absenteeism is running at well over 3pc in some Government departments, will put Health Minister Leo Varadkar's new "bootcamp" for public service workers to the challenge.

Mr Varadkar announced yesterday that he intends to launch a new campaign to get 288,561 public servants fitter and healthier. Employers should offer healthier food, set up walking groups and promote "active travel" to and from work.

But a snapshot survey by the Irish Independent yesterday found several Government department canteens are still dishing up plenty of calorie-rich food, including pies and curries.

A spokesman for the minister said the approach would be one of encouragement and support, rather than that of a tough personal trainer.

The Department of Health canteen tries to set a good example by offering a wide range of meals, and always has a healthy option available, alongside more traditional staples like chips and baked potatoes.

Meals come with a calorie count, and are offered with a salad accompaniment.

Wraps and paninis are offered alongside sandwiches. Fresh fruit, yogurts and fruit salads were available, as were sweet treats and chocolate, added the spokesman.

Irish Independent