HSE lead calls for meal deals to be scrapped amid growing obesity fears

The HSE's clinical lead on obesity said Ireland is at a 'tipping point' in the battle against obesity
HSE lead calls for meal deals to be scrapped amid growing obesity fears

The HSE's clinical lead on obesity has called for meal deals to be made illegal in order to encourage better food choices.

The calls come after a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which found the Covid-19 pandemic prompted a spike in unhealthy eating habits.

Dr Donal O'Shea said Ireland has reached a "tipping point" in the battle against obesity, with Irish people now more likely to be overweight than of a healthy weight.

New figures show 65 per cent of Irish people are now classed at overweight, while the State's rate of obesity is one of the highest in Europe.

Meal deals, commonly found in supermarkets and filling stations, offer a food/drink bundle at a reduced price, generally including a sandwich, soft drink and a bar of chocolate or packet of crisps.

However, Dr O'Shea said these deals are always focused on unhealthy foods and should be banned.

"The industry have the statistics and they know how to prompt and promote consumption. We just have to be super aware of that and try to resist it," he told Newstalk.

"Those buy one get one free offers are always around the high fat, high salt, high sugar stuff, never around fruit," he added.

The WHO report said overweight and obesity has reached epidemic proportions across Europe, with almost six in 10 Europeans now considered overweight or obese.

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