Monday 23 April 2018

Put your phone away and help give your mental health a boost, urges Taoiseach

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and TV presenter Kathryn Thomas at the launch of the 2018 Healthy Ireland campaign. Picture by Fergal Phillips
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and TV presenter Kathryn Thomas at the launch of the 2018 Healthy Ireland campaign. Picture by Fergal Phillips

Ryan Nugent

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is encouraging citizens to take a break from their electronic devices - in an effort to improve their mental health.

The Fine Gael leader said that small changes to one's lifestyle can improve both mental and physical health.

Mr Varadkar was in Croke Park to launch Healthy Ireland 2018, which aims to get us all fitter and more mindful for the coming year. "The message of the Government's Healthy Ireland 2018 campaign is simple; small steps can make a big difference to your health, you just need to start," the Taoiseach said.

"And while this may not always be easy, when you do make the healthy choice, it's always the right one."

The Taoiseach announced the introduction of tax breaks for companies that install showers and fitness equipment in their workplace.

"I'm encouraging everyone to get involved, by making the small changes needed to improve your health and your family's health. That could mean including a walk in your daily routine, making healthier choices at meal times or taking a break from your phone, to give your mental health a boost.

"These positive and sustainable changes can help us all build a healthy Ireland," he said.

Mr Varadkar said that he tried to work out around four times each week as a routine - most of the time before work.

"Unfortunately it means you get photographed on the rare occasions in the darkness of a moving car, travelling in your gym gear," he said.

This was a reference to a photo taken last month of him wearing a tank top on the way into Government Buildings.

The Healthy Ireland campaign has been in place for the past three years - with the latest attempts looking to build on the work that has been done so far.

Health Minister Simon Harris said that every Government department would be involved in the initiative.

"This campaign will help support the work to implement the various policies and plans we have developed to address key public health challenges, such as obesity and physical inactivity. Healthy Ireland recognises that it's not just the job of the health sector to improve the health of the nation. It's a job for everyone, every Government department and every sector playing their part in a partnership approach," said Mr Harris.

Irish Independent

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