Call for calorie count inclusion on Dáil menus
Dr Eva Orsmond and Charlotte OConnell outside Leinster House yesterday. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
HEALTH COMMITTEE:Politicians in Leinster House may soon be able to count their calories when loading up in the Dáil restaurant.
Oireachtas health committee chairman Jerry Buttimer is to write to the House service committee seeking the introduction of calorie information boards in the Dáil’s eating outlets.The committee, which last year rejected a proposal to make Leinster House a smoke-free area, agreed yesterday to the proposal after hearing proposals aimed at tackling the obesity epidemic from the team behind RTÉ’s Operation Transformation programme.
The three experts who present the weight loss show, Dr Eva Orsmond, Dr Eddie Murphy and Karl Henry, called for the introduction of compulsory calorie posting in restaurants.
Other measures they proposed were:
Children should be weighed at school at least once a year. Adults should be weighed when they go to the GP or for a hospital appointment.
Children should be encouraged to take 15,000 steps a day.
Fruits should be displayed at checkouts instead of sweets, chocolate and sugared drinks.
Young people should be taught to cook five simple meals. Food education should be compulsory in schools.
One extra hour of physical education should be provided for national school students each week. The current allocation is one hour a week.
Extra points should be given at the Leaving Certificate for being fit.
Dr Murphy, a psychologist, said it was increasingly difficult to be a normal-weight child in Ireland. People needed to be nudged into making healthier choices. Dr Orsmond called for weighing scales to become part of daily life. Ireland had a culture of relying on medication for every ailment and many doctors were too quick to prescribe drugs, she said. Many dieticians and nutritionists were misinformed because the guidelines on weight loss were out of date. The food pyramid was relevant only to “someone farming with horses”.