Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (805, 929)

Finian McGrath

Question:

805. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if he will support the proposal on the growing obesity issues raised in correspondence (details supplied) by weight management centres and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22655/14]

View answer

Martin Heydon

Question:

929. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Health his plans to address queries in relation to the provision of weight management clinics and related issues (details supplied) and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23223/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 805 and 929 together.

I have established the Special Action Group on Obesity (SAGO) comprising representatives from relevant Government Departments, the HSE, the Food Safety Authority, members of academia, service professionals and safefood to examine and progress a number of issues to address the problem of overweight and obesity in Ireland.

Furthermore, Healthy Ireland supports a whole-of-government approach to address the determinants and predictors of health and well-being, many of which fall outside the health sector, e.g. housing, transportation, education, workplaces and environment along with an individual's socio-economic status. Comprehensive, multilevel approaches are required to address the obesity epidemic and the work of SAGO and Healthy Ireland is on-going in this regard.

Progress has been made on the Healthy Eating guidelines, Calories on Menus initiative and the Report on Recommendations to reduce consumption of high fat, salt and sugar foods and drinks from the Top Shelf of the Food Pyramid.

As one of the measures specifically designed to combat Childhood Obesity, I launched the safefood/HI/HSE three year Childhood Obesity Campaign – Childhood Obesity: Let's take it on – one small step at a time - which is designed to create greater awareness among parents about the threat of childhood overweight and obesity and provide practical tips to help address the problem with the ultimate aim and effecting behaviour change.

The Deputy might also wish to note that my Department is developing a new obesity policy this year which will have a significant impact on the obesity agenda, provide a framework for action based on a number of informants and help lead inter-sectoral work in addressing overweight and obesity in Ireland.

In relation to the detailed queries raised by the Deputy, as these are service matters, I have asked the HSE to respond to him directly.