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Obesity in children at crisis levels

THE extent of childhood obesity in Ireland is hugely worrying. One in three seven-year-olds in the country are now overweight, the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children has heard.

And the consultant paediatrician who presented them stated that the situation is getting worse.

We are raising a generation of kids, many of whom will suffer serious weight-related health problems in adult life.

The cost of adult obesity currently stands at €1bn a year and will rise significantly as this generation grows up. Half of Irish adults will be obese by 2030, unless the problem is tackled. It's vital that the Government prioritise it, but nutritionists are being forced to beg the Department of Health for more cash, as funding for the childhood obesity programme ends later this year. This is unacceptable. This issue is one of life and death for thousands of people in the coming years, and the deaths involved are preventable.

Action must be taken.