The Report on Tackling Childhood Obesity was published by the Houses of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs in November 2018, and Recommendation 4 of this report recommends that the Government should endeavour to ensure that the youth work sector has the necessary supports to strengthen the sector’s work in enhancing the knowledge and skills of young people in relation to healthy eating and active living.
By way of providing the necessary supports to the youth work sector, in recent years funding for the provision of youth services has been increased on an annual basis, with funding of €60.4m allocated in 2019. This funding allows youth organisations and targeted programmes to, amongst other priorities, enhance the knowledge and skills of young people in relation to healthy eating and active living.
The funding is both for universal youth work, as well as more targeted programmes and projects aimed at tackling vulnerable groups, many of whom might be at greater risk of poor diet, obesity and low participation in exercise and sport. Work in this area is undertaken under the overarching national policy framework, Better Outcomes Brighter Futures , which has as Outcome 1, a focus on children and young people being active and healthy and enjoying good physical and mental well-being.
In addition, the significant reform of the Targeted Youth Funding Scheme will be a key enabler in helping to achieve positive outcomes for vulnerable groups, many of whom are at higher risk of obesity and inactive lifestyles.
Finally my Department also engages with inter-departmental strategies and groups, such as the Sports Leadership Group, to support developments to increase children and young people’s participation in exercise and sport.