All-island Obesity Action Forum: Schools can, schools do

Date: Tuesday 14 November, 2017

Time: 9.00am – 1.30pm

Venue: The Gibson Hotel, Dublin 1

A workshop hosted by the All-island Obesity Action Forum supported by safefood.

Workshop overview

The event focused on the school as a setting for healthy weight in children. The workshop commenced with a welcome and introduction by Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director of Human Health and Nutrition at safefood. Dr Foley-Nolan highlighted the purpose of the event – discussing the success of schools in promoting a healthy weight and learning from one another to continue this work.

Jo Jewell from the World Health Organisation opened the workshop with a pre-recorded video discussing the challenge of overweight and obesity in children and the role of health promoting schools. Jo Jewell then joined by phone to answer questions after the presentation. Janet McAlister from the Food in Schools Forum Northern Ireland (NI) presented on the evolution of the Food in Schools Forum and the practical implementation of nutritional standards for school meals. Professor Catherine Woods from the University of Limerick discussed how to promote physical activity in schools in order to achieve optimal health.

Dr Mimi Tatlow-Golden from the Open University presented on digital marketing of food and drink to children and examined whether media literacy interventions are effective. Our final speaker Ms Anne Walsh from the Department of Health Promotion and Improvement within the Health Service Executive (HSE) discussed the role of health promoting schools in developing a whole school approach to food and the promotion of non-edible treats.

Special thank you to those that tweeted using the #obesityforum during the workshop. This proved very successful with the hashtag trending on Twitter at a number of points during the workshop.

Find our more

For more information about this event:


Call: (NI) 0800 085 1683, (ROI) 1850 40 4567





9.00am – 10.00am

Registration with tea & coffee

10.00am – 10.10am


Mr Ray Dolan


10.10am - 11.30am Session 1 Chair: Professor Donal O'Shea

10.10am – 10.50am

The challenge of overweight and obesity in children and the role of health promoting schools - a European perspective (YouTube)

Jo Jewell

World Health Organization (by video conference)

10.50am – 11.10am

Development of Food in Schools for Northern Ireland (PDF, 1MB) 

Janet McAlister

Catering Manager, Education Authority NI and member of Food in Schools Forum​

11.10am – 11.30am

Preventing overweight and obesity in children, the vital role of physical activity: Lessons learned and implications for the Healthy Ireland Demonstration Project (PDF, 4MB) 

Prof Catherine B Woods

University of Limerick

11.30am – 11.50am


11.50am -  1.00pm

Session 2 Chair: Dr Grace O'Malley

11.50am – 12.10pm

Marketing of food and drink to children. Can media literacy counter it? (PDF, 7MB)

Dr Mimi Tatlow-Golden

The Open University

12.10pm – 12.30pm

Whole school food policy development within Health Promoting Schools - what can our schools do to promote treats? (PDF, 2MB)

Anne Walsh

Department of Health Promotion and Improvement, HSE

12.30pm – 12.55pm

Questions & discussion

12.55pm – 1.00pm

Closing remarks

Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan


1.00pm – 1.30pm

Lunch & networking