Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs has warned that childhood obesity in Ireland is likely to rise without State intervention.
Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee says it is crucial that greater resources are targeted at lower socio-economic schools and communities to prevent the problem from getting worse.
It follows the latest Growing Up in Ireland study released earlier this week which found that 22% of Irish nine-year-olds are overweight or obese.
The study, conducted by the ESRI and Trinity College Dublin, found that only a quarter of nine-year-olds reached the recommended level of physical activity which is at least 60 minutes every day.
The survey, which tracks more than 7,500 children and their families, indicated that most children were a healthy weight but 17% were overweight and 5% were obese.
Senator Clifford-Lee also said parents must set an example and take responsibility to encourage children to make healthy choices.