FG Senator calls for ‘no fry zone’ near schools to combat obesity

Catherine Noone says one-in-four children are either overweight or obese

Senator Catherine Noone: ‘It is simply about getting children to make healthier choices.’ Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Senator Catherine Noone: ‘It is simply about getting children to make healthier choices.’ Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone has said there should be a “no-fry zone’’ near schools.

“The reality is if children are able to make an unhealthy choice they are more than likely to make it.’’

She called on the Government to introduce a ban on the building or the use of a premises as a chip shop within a 500m radius of schools.

Ms Noone said her proposal was not about banning chippers or chips. “It is simply about getting children to make healthier choices. It is a bit like removing sweets from the till, which many supermarkets have done.’’

One in four children was either overweight or obese, Ms Noone added.

Lunch break

She said some outlets targeted children on their lunch break or after school with deals to get them eating their food. “They are business people and have to make a living. One can understand why it happens.’’

She said she was shocked to hear that over the next 14 years the State would spend about €4.3 billion annually on health- related obesity costs.

There had, she said, been a 65 per cent rise in diabetes in the UK in the past 10 years. While a similar study had not been conducted in Ireland, it was following a similar trend, if not a worse one.

Minister of State Kevin Humphries said planning authorities could, in certain circumstances, adopt policies to curtail the excessive concentration of takeaways in particular areas.

He said restrictions on fast- food outlets near schools, located in or near town centres, must be considered carefully on a case-by-case basis in view of the mix of existing-use typically found in core urban areas.