Reilly tackling nation's weight woes ... and his own
HEALTH Minister James Reilly is to introduce legislation forcing food outlets to show calories on their menus.
And Dr Reilly is not only seeking to improve the health of the nation with the measure, he is also leading by example by tackling his own weight issue, it has emerged.
Operation Transformation's fitness guru Karl Henry has revealed that the minister was battling the bulge at home as well as in work.
"He knows he needs to get fit and healthy and that can only be applauded," the personal trainer said.
"I'm a personal trainer and if I were overweight then I know I shouldn't be in the job that I'm in.
"I was at a recent lecture of his and he said [Dr Reilly] was taking control of his own health and how important food and exercise were for that."
"Ireland has the second biggest obesity problem in Europe.
"Such a simple thing as getting these calorie counts on to menus will have such a big effect."
Dr Reilly and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) yesterday launched a public consultation in Dublin to give consumers and businesses the chance to give their views on how calories should be displayed.
The move comes as research in America found that when calories were displayed, people ate 152 fewer calories in hamburger joints, 73 less calories in sandwich bars and 6pc fewer calories per day.
A new marking system would ensure that consumers are warned of the large number of calories in some well-loved products.
A large cinema popcorn, for example, contains 1,050 calories -- or more than half the recommended daily allowance of 2,000 calories for women and 1,800 calories for children.
Guidelines also suggest that men may have an intake of 2,500 calories per day, but age, height, weight and activity levels can have an impact on the number of calories required to maintain a healthy weight.
As people age, their metabolism slows down, especially for women with low activity levels.