Ambitious National Plan to Fight Obesity in Ireland Draws Early Criticism

The main critique is the lack of funds to implement new policies
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The Irish government’s national obesity plan includes a sugary drinks tax, maximum portion sizes for unhealthy food and drinks, reformulation targets, and more.

In the face of an obesity epidemic, in which one in four children in Ireland is overweight or obese, and six in 10 adults are overweight or obese, the Irish government has launched an “ambitious” national obesity plan, Food Navigator reported.

It involves a sugary drinks tax, maximum portion sizes for unhealthy food and drinks, reformulation targets, and marketing restrictions. It has drawn criticism from campaigners because of the lack of funding to actually implement the new policies.

On maximum portion sizes, the policy report states, “Marketing and pricing play key roles in shaping our food choices. It is therefore essential that the way food and drinks are promoted and marketed reduces exposure to unhealthy food using nutrition profiling.” Nutrition profiling classifies foods and drinks in terms of overall nutrition and not just individual components.

Paul Kelly, the director of Food and Drink Industry Ireland, does not support the fiscal measures included in the policy, as they are “unfair, discriminatory, and not evidence-based.”

The Irish Heart Foundation is skeptical that the food and beverage industry will actually follow through with these changes unless it benefits its own corporate interests.

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