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Debates
Monday, 12 March 2007 - Strasbourg OJ edition

One-minute speeches on matters of political importance
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  Gay Mitchell (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I was both interested and shocked to read the findings of a report last week which show that, since 2002, the total time allocated to physical education in European schools has declined steadily. Indeed, my own country, Ireland, ranks as one of the poorest with a minimum curriculum guideline of 30 minutes and a maximum of just 60 minutes.

Childhood obesity is on the rise across Europe. Indeed, obesity is five times more common now than it was after World War II. In Ireland alone 300 000 children are either overweight or obese according to the Department of Health and Children.

Obesity in our children today will cost society massively in the long run, from both an economic and a social perspective. In terms of direct cost, obesity accounts for up to six per cent of Ireland’s total healthcare costs. Obesity is directly linked to many serious illnesses such as type-two diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood-pressure and certain types of cancer.

With this in mind, surely it is time for the EU to give impetus to change by promoting a realistic and effective strategy in this field, which can be benchmarked by Member States.

 
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