No plans to ban vending machines from secondary schools, despite obesity levels

Vending machines will not be banned from secondary schools here despite fresh opposition from the HSE and campaigners.

The Sunday Independent reports that the Department of Education has ignored new calls to remove the machines, as part of ongoing efforts to stem childhood obesity.

Recent figures from the World Health Organisation which show Ireland has the highest rate of obesity among EU member states for young children.

This week the HSE released a statement supporting a ban on junk food in school vending machines and supporting fast-food exclusion zones around schools.

A spokeswoman for the HSE said: "This is a matter for the Department of Education and Skills, however, the HSE would welcome a ban on junk food in school vending machines."

About 30% of schools have a vending machine or school shop which generally sells unhealthy food.

However, The Department of Education said there were no plans to ban the use of vending machines in secondary schools, adding that schools' efforts must be complemented by parents and the wider community.

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