Get the junk food out of our schools urges Doctor Nina
IRISH secondary schools should be off-limits for fatty and sugary foods, says celebrity doctor Nina Byrnes.
The glamorous GP, who co-presents Health of The Nation with Dr Mark Hamilton, says canteens and vending machines are encouraging children to stock up on unhealthy snacks.
"They've brought in healthy eating in primary schools. My children go to a primary school and they can't have any sweet things, which is good.
"But you regularly see students in secondary school eating fried foods in the canteen and sweets from the machines, and that needs to be addressed."
However, the working mum has brushed off any suggestion that she could become Ireland's version of Jamie Oliver in a bid to make secondary schools healthier -- saying she's far too busy.
"I work full-time in a general practice and I don't want to be preaching to everyone. I just want to get the information out there," she said.
"If people want to get unhealthy food, they're going to get it, so I think people need to get ownership over the issue as well. It's up to the individuals and it's important for them to decide."
Dr Byrnes admits that she has a sweet tooth herself, and is more an advocate of a healthy, balanced diet than calorie counting. "I don't eat healthy food all of the time every day. I've a sweet tooth and I love cheese, which is quite high in fat.
"I think it's everything in moderation. If you have the odd day where you eat more than you should have or you've gone on holiday and had a few more drinks than you should have, I think once it's on balance then it's okay.
"Life is for living as well. I'd hate to be one of those people who weighs the food I eat or constantly thinks about what I eat."
She stressed that the new Stop The Spread campaign is aiming to portray the right message -- that having a waist size greater than 32 inches for a woman or 37 inches for a man is a clear indication that a person is carrying excess weight.