European Obesity Day

Friday 19 May, 2017. To mark European Obesity Day tomorrow Saturday, 20 May, safefood is supporting the call for more to be done in raising awareness of obesity while also reducing the stigma associated with it.

Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health & Nutrition, safefood said

We need to accept that obesity is something that people need real help with, not something to be blamed for. By persisting with this stigmatizing notion that obese adults and children are ‘different’ from everyone else in society, we’re being unfair and making things worse – those who need help often avoid health services because of this. Much in the same way as we’ve moved the conversation from ‘mental illness’ to ‘mental health’, so we need to do the same with weight issues and obesity on the island of Ireland."

In tackling the issue of overweight and obesity, Dr Foley-Nolan stressed the need for concerted, effective action at all life stages. “Given the levels of overweight and obesity that we now face, we need sustained, robust action. The many health professionals involved have complimentary roles in this, whether that’s treating obesity or the many other diseases impacted by obesity."

It's vital to promote healthier lifestyles, for example, healthier vending machines in our schools, colleges and hospitals. We also need a healthier environment that encourages physical activity and also reduces the availability of high-calorie food and drinks. Today, it's difficult for both adults and children to remain a healthy weight with ever-present temptations to overindulge all around us. And we need services to treat the many life shortening diseases associated with overweight and obesity both in the community and our hospitals, she continued.

With the World Health Organisation estimating that the number of obese Europeans has more than tripled since the 1980s, and that approximately one in three children across Europe aged 6-9 years old are overweight or obese, we need to take real, concerted action at every stage if we’re to confront one of the greatest public health crises of modern times.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact


Julie Carroll (m) 086 601 6005 or

Dermot Moriarty (m) 086 381 1034 or