Minister for Health welcomes the publication of the “Lifeskills” survey of schools

Students, teachers and schools working together for a Healthy Ireland

The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, today (Tuesday 11th February 2014) welcomed the publication of the 2012 “Lifeskills” Survey.

The survey found that schools are playing an important role in promoting a Healthy Ireland, through healthy eating initiatives at primary level and the continued dedication of many teachers in supporting pupils in physical activity outside of school hours, even where this is not a mandatory requirement. However, while most post-primary schools have a healthy eating policy, the availability of 'junk food' remains a challenge, as are the data relating to physical education.

"My Department and the HSE will continue to support schools to ensure our young people make informed and healthy choices and look after their own health”, the Minister said, “We all have to work together to ensure that their environment, inside and outside of school, helps them do that”.

The Department of Health is working with the Department of Education and Skills, and other key stakeholders, to develop guidelines on the best way for schools to promote healthy eating, especially when there is a school shop or vending machines. In addition, the Special Action Group on Obesity reported to the Minister for Health on reducing consumption of "top shelf foods" (as defined in the Healthy Eating Guidelines) and the Department of Health is developing an Action Plan on foot of those recommendations.

"The health and wellbeing of our children must be our shared number one priority”, the Minister concluded, “In particular, we must all – healthcare professionals, education professionals, families and communities – work together to address child obesity and together achieve a Healthy Ireland”.

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