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Obesity in Ireland

  • 17-04-2023 10:47pm
    Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 12,641 Mod ✭✭✭✭

    Obesity rates in Ireland continue to climb - in 2022 over 25% of Irish adults were defined as clinically obese and over 60% were categorised as overweight.

    Ireland is now second only to the UK for obesity rates in Europe. Absolutely shameful statistic. Sedentary lifestyles, junk/convenience food, total dependence on the car, lack of regular physical exercise and very high sugar intake are the chief contributory factors.

    Article linked here:

    By 2030 if trends continue, Ireland will be among the most obese countries in the world.

    What realistically can be done to counter this alarming trend? It really is shocking how many seriously overweight people there are on a typical day out and about compared to even 20 years ago when you would see far fewer obese people, particularly children and young women.

    Is it a case of people just being lazy and weak-willed or are there more complex reasons?

    Are you yourself concerned about your weight?

    Post edited by JupiterKid on



  • Registered Users Posts: 24,953 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    Total dependence on the car is the fault of years of governments chronically under resourcing our public transport… bad frequency, dubious reliability, over subscribed, lack of variety, lack of comfort (irish rail) and lack of integration and wide coverage too.

    That aside, if I started my own business tomorrow I’d have a few bikes, treadmills and cross trainers, as an incentive, you can take an extra 20-25 on a lunch break to put in a couple of kilometres…so if you have a 45 minutes lunch break to eat and rest, take 10 rest after eating and then 30 or so exercising….I’m surprised more places don’t do that… you could kit out a medium size room with decent gear for about 7 grand to suit a medium sized business.

    sedentary lifestyles…. Most areas are without amenities of a physical fitness nature, some gym memberships are quite expensive. Ireland is quite a miserable place 7 months a year to be going outside walking at night when summer passes. That said, ordering a bike, treadmill etc… that stuff is a lot cheaper now then before.

    junk / convenience food… yep, no excuses there.

    concerned about weight ? Nope not this week, I put on some over the last while and after Christmas I was unhappy with my weight but as of today, weight and general healthy appearance is ok…I think.

  • Posts: 1,539 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    That aside, if I started my own business tomorrow I’d have a few bikes, treadmills and cross trainers, as an incentive, you can take an extra 20-25 on a lunch break to put in a couple of kilometres…so if you have a 45 minutes lunch break to eat and rest, take 10 rest after eating and then 30 or so exercising….

    And get sued for everything you've got the first time an employee slips of a treadmill or has some other accident on equipment you've provided.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,953 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    I don’t agree. Just have the employee sign a waiver before they are provided with access / authorisation to use it.

    you have to do that with the gym I’m in, in regards to accidents and your health status too.

    anyway if the business has documentation to show the equipment is serviced by an authorised contractor meeting the recommended service timeframes, everyone is covered.

  • Posts: 1,539 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    They could still look to sue if an accident happens. Also a possible insurance nightmare.

    If you wanted to go down that road, either pay for employees' gym memberships as a perk or negotiate a group discount for employees at a local gym.

    (Not to mention, you'd also need to add another 20 minutes or so in for a shower. No one wants to sit and work all afternoon near a stinky colleague. It would need to be an awful long lunch break, to fit all that in.)

  • Registered Users Posts: 134 ✭✭Savetheplanet

    " 20 minutes or so in for a shower" glad you don't live here! Apart from that I think people should not be labelled, would you label other members of society as easily? I doubt it. 2nd part of post not directed at you @[Deleted User]

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  • Posts: 1,539 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    What are you on about? 20 minutes to take a shower, dry yourself, dress and then clean the shower after you is not unreasonable.

    Unless you're one of those people who would use a workplace shower and leave it un-cleaned after you. We have some of them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,196 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    This is only going to get worse. We are turning into the people from WALL-E

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,416 ✭✭✭✭kneemos

    The sugar tax was an attempt at tackling the obesity crisis. Don't see that many fat kids about though,adults are almost exclusively obese or overweight. Maybe they get sedentary once they start work or something.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,912 ✭✭✭Dr Turk Turkelton

    There are fat kids everywhere in Ireland.

    It seems to be from about the eight onwards and the twelve/ thirteen year olds are humongous.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,565 ✭✭✭ahnowbrowncow

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,485 ✭✭✭Trampas

    Or drinking monster and other similar drinks like it’s water.

    It’ll be a nation where people will be slim or fat.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,709 ✭✭✭LambshankRedemption

    There are a lot of contributing factors. Its not just about exercise. Though everyone, including me, should do more! It's mostly about diet. As someone once said, you can't outrun a bad diet. Convenience food is not just the convenience, it's also the cheapest. Good food is very expensive in Ireland. Fast food is cheap, convenient and calorie dense - while at the same time being less fulfilling, so you eat more of it. Then to add insult to injury, cooking a meal from scratch burns up calories in the preparation. Ringing dominos, burns up feck all. Then there are other factors. Restaurants don't help. If you order lasagne in Italy, you get a plate of lasagne. If you order it in Ireland, most of the time you get a side of chips too.

    Transport is another thing. It's pretty terrible in Ireland which leads to an over reliance on the car. Property is so expensive few people live near their work so spend lots of time daily commuting -sat in their car. Take out coffee is all the rage, but a grande mocha-cino has more calories than a Big Mac. So a lot of people spend a lot of time sat in their car, drinking 20% of their daily required calories.

    Finally, weather plays a part too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,416 ✭✭✭✭kneemos

    It's a myth that fast food is cheaper than good food.

    You'd get armfuls of fruit and veg for the price of a pizza. A chicken is a fiver. A few steaks for a tenner. Nuts,seeds in Aldi or Lidl are a cheap as chips, literally.

    I think it's an American thing,where you can get tons of crap for cheap.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 48,734 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    you can't just get someone to sign your responsibilities away for you.

  • Posts: 1,539 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    Not true. The myth is that good quality food, is cheap. Its not.

    To use the lasagne analogy above, you can buy a 1kg ready made lasagne in Aldi for €4, but to make it from scratch, would cost at least double that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,416 ✭✭✭✭kneemos

    Wouldn't call a ready made Lasagna healthy,but a few steaks for a tenner is three quid per meal,few peas and spuds adds up to a fiver,basic,but relatively healthy.

    A bag of porridge would probably last an individual a week,some salad for lunch and I'd be surprised if a tenner a day didn't feed someone very well.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,386 ✭✭✭brokenbad

    Kids nowadays spend a lot of their time indoors online and gaming or glued to their smartphones leaving less time for physical activity.

    The rise of fast fashion and energy drinks such as "Prime"

    Due to the "win at all cost" mentality and ever increasing demands of sport - particularly GAA from age 12 onwards - a lot of kids who would have been on the fringes of the teams have dropped sports completely.

    You see less and less kids out cycling bikes on the roads compared to 20 years ago.

  • Registered Users Posts: 273 ✭✭Banzai600

    FFS - blaming cars, will you get a grip of yourself . It might be a contributing factor but not the sole reason. Sick of the car bashing, even though i use a motorbike / scooter !! our public transport is sh1t , end of. look at the catchment areas that dont have a luas or good bus service -thats another argument.

    Ppl have become lazy, they dont exercise and mostly i think in general its the diet is out the window.

    On the whole, a lot of ppl choose convenience now over making dinners, lunches. Ppl are eating more takeaways / fast food - giving kids money for fried food 5 days a week etc during school or weekends.

    I work in a big office bulding, v few ppl have homemade lunches, all pre packed, or going to local shop. i myself, 4 days a week make home lunch, same with breakfast, i bring in cereal or homemade yogurt/ frozenberry mix - simple, tasty and filling. `Doesnt make me a hero, but saves me money and keeps me more healthy.

    its a generational thing imo , look back up until the 90's , ppl and kids were doing more , not sitting in houses binging on video games / worthless tv reality garbage for days on end. Food was better, less additives, more natural ? Food wasnt on an app, at the click of a button.

    the sugar tax was a lock of b****ks - why not educate / inform instead of hiking prices, hiking prices made zero difference and never will.

    fast food and shop bought food is expensive now, but fast food is way more expensive imo - yet ppl are gorging themselves through food apps because its handy - thats the crux of it. I was doing work ioutside the house all weekend, and i couldnt tell you the amount of time in two days the delivery guys were in / out of the estate, afternoon and evening.

    we do know a couple of families with young kids and teenagers who buck the the trend and, walk / cycle kids to school every day and homemade lunches. Doesnt make parents who dont do this bad ppl - before they jump dfown my throat, ppl have to make the choice themselves.

    Kms of cycle paths i pass from home to work, passing a LOT of schools and the vast vast majority of kids are all droppped off while pasted to their phones not an inch from their face - right before learning the skills they need for life. i know its not suitable for some ppl to let kids walk, but you only have to look at the traffic volumes when the kids are off, but it seems to be a taboo subject.

    we make our own lasagne / stir fry / pizzas etc and theyre pretty good. Its not hard, just planning is the key to dinners / lunches for the week - we know exatly whats going into them.

    i dont belive for one moment premade meals are any better or would buy any, like a lasagne for instance. But again ppl's circumstances are different and they are entitled to eat / buy what they want. P!ss off with the nanny state agendas, its past ridiculous now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 478 ✭✭Run Forest Run

    Ireland is quite a miserable place 7 months a year to be going outside walking at night when summer passes.

    This sort of attitude really needs to be challenged more and kicked into touch in our society, if we are going to encourage people to get outside and be more active. Gyms have their place of course, but they are not really a complete substitute for fresh air and healthy exercise outdoors.

    Ireland is certainly NOT a miserable place 7 months of the year. We have a very mild climate, with barely any extremes of cold or heat etc. If it's dark or raining... get a head torch and rain jacket/hi viz vest etc and stop being a big pu$$y! Contrary to popular opinion, getting out into the elements is actually great for your immune system and your mental well being too. You're more likely to pick up colds/viruses from being cooped up indoors all winter. (including gyms btw)

    If more people braved the elements in winter, instead of sitting on the couch living a life of comfort and opulence, we might actually have a society of healthier people.

    Post edited by Run Forest Run on

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,805 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    People of yesteryear would spend their time in the pub glue to the horse-racing, soccer or other nonsense. They're probably constituting a large percentage of the obese cohort.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 48,734 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    people always blame the government for poor public transport. why did the government not prioritise good alternatives to the car? because the electorate didn't seek it; and you can see it today where FF/FG are briefing against GP plans to boost active travel measures.

    other posters have been rightly pointing out that it's possible to get ingredients for cheap, but i suspect a lot of the issue is that for many, there's the time and skill required to cook a meal, and if they tried they might get something bland, when it's much quicker to simply buy something ready made.

    i once had a discussion/argument online (not on boards) with people calling for driving lessons to be given in school. i was arguing that they should have cooking lessons, not driving lessons. how many people reach leaving cert age unable to do something as basic as cook a dinner for themselves? i was certainly one of them, and still am not a great cook (i am of a generation where having a mother who did not have a paid job was normal) and as such food was always ready for me at home, so i never gave myself the kick up the arse to learn myself. even after i moved out of home, when i'd go to visit my parents, my mother would hand me say a chicken curry divvied up into five portions to bring home to refrigerate/freeze.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,709 ✭✭✭LambshankRedemption

    OK, a chicken for a fiver, or 10 packs of instant noodles for a euro.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,805 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    Your call. It's my idea of hell. I'm just a bit tired of the constant boomer stick here of blaming everything on younger people.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith

  • Posts: 1,539 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    Because I knew someone would argue it:

    1kg ready made lasagne from Aldi. €4.29

    Now, here is the price of the mince beef, alone. 500g of 5% fat mince for €4.19 or €8.38 per kilo.

    Now, you could I suppose opt for the cheaper 18% fat beef mince (🤮) at €3.99 per kilo, with more than three times the fat content, but doesn't that defeat the purpose?

    And that's before you add in any of the other ingredients required. The tomatoes, the cheeses, the pasta, the herbs.

    The point is, if the government was truly serious about tackling obesity, then the 5% fat lean option would be priced at €3.99 per kilo, and the 18% fatty version at €8.38 per kilo, instead of the other way around.

    I really wish people would stop pushing this myth that good quality fresh ingredients are cheap. They're not.

    I do all the cooking and meal planning in my home, and if they're so cheap, I must be doing something very wrong going by the amounts going out of my bank account every week on groceries.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,709 ✭✭✭LambshankRedemption

    I live alone and enjoy cooking, but I'm glad someone has supported me with the good food is not cheap.

    I know I made some generalisations in my earlier post, but that was just opinion.

    When I was working in the office, particularly if money was tight I would make my lunch on a sunday and freeze it. Usually either Lasagne or Chicken vindaloo. Both I could make for less than 10 euro and that was 5 days lunch. It does take time though. It takes prep, organisation and some cooking skill - and thats just for me. Doing it for a family of 4, with two working parents and possibly differing tastes, must be a nightmare for some.

  • Registered Users Posts: 265 ✭✭Irish_wolf

    It's definitely easy to eat cheap and healthy in this country if you know how to cook and you can buy in bulk. However, it takes a lot of work in meal prep and requires knowledge of food nutrition which you yourself probably take for granted. Not everyone has the time, money, storage space, and know-how to buy lots of healthy food and spend time preparing it, then also having time at the end of all that to go to the gym. Generally speaking the trend in developed nations are that areas with higher poverty levels have higher rates of obesity. This is not a coincidence.

    "Is it a case of people just being lazy and weak-willed or are there more complex reasons?"

    There are a myriad of different factors involved and there's plenty of research on the subject. Often poorer parents don't have the time or energy after working hard or long hours (or both) to come home and cook a healthy meal for their kids so a bag of chicken nuggets and chips thrown in the oven might cost the same as making say, a chicken stir fry, but it takes a negligible amount time and effort in comparison. They may not have the education required to know how much of what they should be eating, although there's huge confusion in this area even amongst professionals. They often don't have funds to buy sports equipment or gym memberships. Basically due to lack of resources in time, money and education people tend to eat more high energy density, low nutritional food and lead more sedentary lifestyles.

    This is a massively complex issue and broad strokes approach (eat less, go for a jog) and quick solutions (reduce vat on veg) probably wont work. You cant just pull people out of poverty, likewise if you give them free healthy food they are probably still likely not to have the time (or the inclination) to cook it. It will take years of educational programs, greater access to sports equipment/programs, and a fundamental change in the way we live our lives to start reversing the trend.

    In the short term one thing I would love to see which I think would increase access to sports facilities is a massive overhaul of the insurance system in this country. Every business is legally required to have insurance so the small number of insurance agencies operating here have these companies by the balls, this means the membership prices are extortionate and a single incident could shut the company. Outdoor spaces likewise can end up being closed because of injury claims. These problems are less severe in other European countries where the litigation culture isn't as common. Obviously businesses have a duty of care to their customers but the current landscape means it's impossible for sports centres to operate cheaply, many do not allow children at all for this very reason.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,849 ✭✭✭✭average_runner

    You are comparing apples to oranges there. The pre-made lasange doesn't even have the 18% fat mince, it has alot worst and more processed mince.

    So yeah pre-made would be cheaper.

    But for a fresh lasagne that you can make for 2 adults and freeze another 4 portions for another time would roughly cost this:

    Pasta sheets : 1.50 and you have sheets left over to make another 3 lasagnes

    Mince: 4.50

    Tomato cans x 2 : 80 cent

    White Sauce 1.50

    Cheese : 2.29 and more left over for another lasagne

    Mushrooms: 69 cent

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,709 ✭✭✭LambshankRedemption

    You realise you are arguing against your own original point?

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 48,734 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    crunching the numbers on the beef - i do a nice not-quite-bolognese and would probably get 5 portions out of 500g.

    from what i can see online, 100g of 5% mince is ~120 or 130 calories, 18% is double that.

    so it's certainly not insignifcant, but the difference is about 5% the recommended daily calorie intake for an adult male. less than the calories in a can of coke.