25% of Irish children are overweight or obese
60% of Irish adults are overweight or obese
50% of pregnant Irish women are overweight or obese
75% of Irish adults over 50 are overweight or obese
Forecasts by the World Health Organisation show that Ireland is at risk of having the highest rate of overweight and obesity in Europe by 2030.
There has been a huge increase in average weight over the last 30 years. The way we eat and the way we live our daily lives has changed dramatically in a short space of time. Physical activity has fallen. Technology has changed the types of jobs we do, requiring less physical effort. More and more people spend time in front of screens, not moving. Not just at work but also in the home.
The way we eat has changed too. More people are living alone grabbing a ready meal on the way home from work. In families, parents are working and it’s not always possible to have sit down family dinners every evening, though we know that those families that do have a lower incidence of overweight. We depend a lot on convenience foods and takeaways because we are so time poor.
The traditional treat foods are no longer even really treats when we have them every single day. Processed foods high in fat and sugar are flying off our shelves because people don’t have the time to go shopping for real foods and prepare and cook homemade meals.
An unhealthy diet has been linked to morbidity and mortality. Overweight people are at greater risk of living shorter lives, and suffering from non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. And from an economical perspective, if the rates continue as they have been how are we as a country going to be able to afford it? Businesses will suffer with all the extra sick days. The health service is already under strain, how will it cope if nearly 90% of adults are overweight or obese with all the health problems associated with that? I don’t think it will.
We are possibly witnessing the first generation of children being born who will have a lower life expectancy than their parents. I find this terrifying. The human race has always evolved and improved, until now.
In short: the way we are eating now is slowly killing us.
It’s time for each of us to take a look at our lives and take responsibility for our own diets and our own health.