New report: Attitudes of the Irish Public towards policies to address obesity

New research investigating public attitudes to obesity-targeted policies reveals that child-related interventions are the most strongly favoured. The report Irish Public Attitudes towards Obesity Policies’, was launched last week at a workshop in Belfast hosted by safefood, and highlighted higher levels of public support in Ireland for the majority of obesity policy measures when compared with other European countries.

Obesity and the related health burden is a growing problem in Ireland. Understanding public attitudes to policy interventions is important, as it provides a key indicator of the potential effectiveness of interventions and the readiness of the general public for policy implementation.

The survey was conducted among 500 adults living in Ireland between June and July 2013 through face to face interviews in the respondent’s home. 30 obesity-related policy items were included in the survey and grouped into four distinct groups; Child-focused policies; Information interventions; Fiscal measures and Industry-regulation measures.

The highest level of support was evident for child-focused interventions, informational policies, government and food industry co-operation and subsidies for healthy foods. Comparatively, lower levels of support were evident for policies that may be viewed as restricting personal choice (e.g. restricting portion sizes in food outlets).

A ban of vending machines in all schools was supported by 82% of participants. This is over 20% higher than results from similar surveys in the UK and Italy. Acceptance of child-focused policies was especially high (92%). There was also high support for what might be seen as more intrusive policies, such as reduced VAT rates for healthy foods and higher VAT rates for unhealthy foods (79%) and planning restrictions for fast food outlets in towns and cities (66%).

Posted: 25/06/2014 09:37:23 by Laura Keaver


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