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IHF backs €30m fund for obesity and food poverty

11 Sep 2014

The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) has called for a €30 million Children’s Future Health Fund to tackle child obesity and food poverty, in its pre-budget submission.

The Fund could be financed by a 20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened drinks that would yield about €60 million to the Exchequer. Health impact assessments have shown that this tax alone would reduce the number of obese people by 22,000, the IHF has said.

The €30 million fighting fund should be established in the Budget, according to the IHF. In its pre-Budget submission, the heart disease and stroke charity demanded the setting up of a Children’s Future Health Fund to deliver a package of measures. The fund would provide nutritious school food for all disadvantaged schools countrywide. Subsidies for fruit and vegetables would also be introduced.

“As a society, we are abjectly failing both the one-in-four of our children who is overweight or obese and the estimated 20 per cent who go to bed hungry at night because their families cannot feed them,” said Chris Macey, IHF Head of Advocacy.

Calculations on the Irish market show that the introduction of subsidies for fruit and vegetables could result in a net employment gain. And any regressive impact of taxation would be more than addressed by these subsidies and other proposed measures.

The IHF’s pre-Budget submission, titled ‘Investing in children’s future health’, says the Fund should be used to address three separate areas: improved childhood nutrition; stopping the creation of a new generation of smokers; and ending under-age drinking.

gary.culliton@imt.ie

Date: 
11 September 2014

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times