Ireland first country to restrict unhealthy food sponsorship aimed at children

The Irish Times
Paul Cullen

Ireland is set to become the first country in the world to restrict unhealthy food sponsorships aimed at children attending primary school, once a newly developed code of practice is introduced.

The code, developed jointly by the Department of Health, the HSE, food companies and advertisers, has the objective of reducing people’s exposure to the marketing of food and drink that is high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS).

Three out of five Irish adults, and one in four children, are overweight or obese. As the code acknowledges, obesity levels are rising at an alarming rate and Ireland is on course to become the most obese in Europe by 2030.
An action plan last year committed to 60 different actions to tackle rising obesity, of which the introduction of restrictions on food-related advertising and sponsorship is one.

Although the problem is complex, the food sector plays a crucial role in relation to healthy weight. The aim is to change from the current “obesogenic” environment, where unhealthy foods are everywhere, to one that facilitates the consumption of healthier food and drink.

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