Skip to main content
Normal View

Proposed Legislation

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (560, 574)

Neasa Hourigan

Question:

560. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Health the progress made to date on a public health (obesity) Act, in particular the work undertaken to examine restrictions on promotion and advertising aimed at children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61197/21]

View answer

Patrick Costello

Question:

574. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Health the progress that has been made on the commitment in the programme for Government to work with key stakeholders to introduce a public health obesity Bill, including examining restrictions on promotion and advertising aimed at children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61253/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 560 and 574 together.

The Programme for Government “Our Shared Future” contains a commitment to “Work with key stakeholders to introduce a Public Health Obesity Act, including examining restrictions on promotion and advertising aimed at children”.

The policy instrument for obesity in Ireland is “A Healthy Weight for Ireland’, the Obesity Policy and Action Plan (OPAP), which was launched in September 2016 as part of the Healthy Ireland Framework. The OPAP covers a 10-year period up to 2025 and aims to reverse obesity trends, prevent health complications and reduce the overall burden for individuals, families, the health system, and the wider society and economy.

The OPAP provides for a mid-term review to be carried out, which will lead to a refreshed and updated Plan with a revised set of actions for the remaining lifetime of the OPAP. This review provides the opportunity to consider developments and new evidence since the publication of the OPAP, and to assess which elements might best be further progressed by legislation or by other means.

The review will be informed by an evaluation of the OPAP which is being carried out by the Health Research Board Centre for Health and Diet Research, University College Cork. This process has included an assessment through an online survey by numerous experts and stakeholders, and the final report is expected to be received shortly. A strong evidence base will be required for any new legislative measures, and the review of the OPAP will build on the work already underway to identify gaps in the implementation of the Plan, including where actions need to be progressed, whether by legislative or other means, and where further research is required. This will input into what measures should be included in a Public Health Obesity Act, and stakeholder consultation will also be an important element of the considerations in relation to this.

In relation to the issues around advertising and marketing of unhealthy foods aimed at children, Ireland is currently co-leading a Work Package in this area under the EU Joint Action “Best ReMaP” (Best practices in Reformulation, Marketing and public Procurement). The title of the Work Package is “Best practices in reducing marketing of unhealthy food products to children and adolescents”. Work has been underway under this Joint Action since October 2020 and there are 17 Member States participating.

Top
Share