A new report published by the European Heart Network entitled'Diet, Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Europe gives a strong indication that the current dietary consumption and very low levels of physical activity cannot continue, as this is causing an increase in coronary heart disease and stroke across Europe.
On average Irish adults consume 37 per cent of their calories from fat. The goal is to decrease this to 25 per cent in the long term. Irish people are also consuming too much salt. The maximum recommended daily intake is 6g, while Irish people are consuming on average 9.3g of salt per day. Fruit and vegetables consumption is also shockingly low at an average of only 192g a day, while the recommended amount is 600g. Physical activity is also at a low with only one in three adults getting enough exercise. Adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five days a week.
Michael O'Shea, chief executive of the Irish Heart Foundation, believes that a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks should be introduced. The national charity believes so strongly in this that it has included it in its pre-budget submission. Mr O’Shea also thinks restricting advertising on foods high in fat, sugar, and salt between the hours of 6am and 9pm would help to stop Irish children eating too much junk foods.
More than half the European population is either overweight or obese. The scenario in Ireland is worse, with 61 per cent of adults either overweight or obese. It is obvious that Irish people need to change their attitudes to their diets, especially adults, because children will only follow their same habits. Do Irish people really care though? Is their health the least of their worries? Irish people need to realise that this is a very serious issue that is not being given the attention it needs.