106. All Healthy Eating programmes must be backed by dieticians

Like many of society’s problems, schools are expected to be part of the solution, if not the whole solution. Obesity and diet are two pandemics in Irish society with our country biting their way to the top of the league tables of the most obese nation in the world.

The Department of Education, to be fair, recognises this problem and has offered limited supports to schools. The answer to the problem of obesity is probably education and support needs to be given to everyone.

There are a number of programmes out there, none of which I’ll name, but they tend to involve rewarding children for eating healthy food. I’m pretty sure, except for renegade ones, dieticians couldn’t possibly support a “I’m a Celebrity Get me out of Here” style challenge of putting “disgusting” food in front of a child while dangling some sort of reward over them if they take a bite of it. 

We need to get a proper set of dieticians to provide proper lunch provision for schoolchildren and we need proper ways to encourage children to eat healthy food. As teachers, we are often enthusiastic and try to take these things on ourselves, but we need a system to be created by the professionals who know what they are doing. It might end up more expensive than the bribery approach currently favoured but it will end up saving a lot more money over time if it’s done properly.

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