We'll be the world's fattest by 2030 'because we're poisoning our kids'
AS WORLD health experts warn that Ireland is on course to be the fattest county in Europe, one Dublin doctor today warned that children are being poisoned with fatty, sugary foods.
Professor Donal O'Shea was responding to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report which predicted that 89pc of men and 85pc of women here are likely to be classified as overweight by 2030.
Prof O'Shea, the head of weight management services at Dublin's St Columcille's and St Vincent's Hospitals, put the crisis in stark terms saying the obesity problem will be worse than cholera or Aids for our health service.
The WHO also estimates that 57pc of Irish women and 48pc of men will be classified as obese in 15 years time.
"Why are we leading the way? I think we have a particular environment where physical activity has gone off a cliff edge, particularly for adolescents and adolescent girls in particular," Prof O'Shea said.
"We also have just an environment of unregulated, I would say poisoning of our kids, especially in the lower socio-economic groups with high fat, high salt, high sugar foods. So you've got the perfect storm," Prof O'Shea told RTE Radio this morning.
"We're on course to be the fattest country in Europe in by 2030. We must pay attention and we must take action," he urged.
"We have an environment where kids leave school for lunch and they go to a garage forecourt and they literally walk down an aisle of high fat, high salt, high sugar foods to buy a chicken fillet roll or breakfast roll that contains their total daily calorie requirements.
"If it wasn't harming and if obesity was a purely physical or an appearance problem, then it wouldn't be an issue.
"Obesity is already driving a diabetes epidemic, a cancer epidemic, a heart disease epidemic that frankly within the health service we're currently not coping with.
"If the WHO figures are even half correct, it's an unthinkable scenario," he warned.
"A change in a attitude towards physical activity is required as well as more awareness of healthy eating," he said.
The WHO report, to be presented to the European Congress on Obesity today, forecasts that 74pc of UK men will be overweight and 36pc obese by 2030. It is predicted 64pc of women there will be overweight and one-third obese .
Other countries with projected steep rises in obesity over this period include Greece, Spain, Sweden, Austria, and the Czech Republic.