The findings of the health screening of 550 people undertaken by the VHI earlier this year have some frightening implications.
The survey found 23% of men and 22% of women surveyed were overweight, while 10% of men and 9% of the women were obese.
Such findings are alarming because of the implications of obesity, which increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis, as well as rendering people more vulnerable to several types of cancer.
The VHI medical director warned a healthcare conference in Dublin last week that Ireland is faced with significant problems in dealing with preventable lifestyle diseases. There has been a distinct increase in type 2 diabetes, because people have been leading a more sedentary lifestyle and eating unsuitable food.
As many as 100,000 Irish people have developed diabetes but do not realise it. This amounts to a health timebomb.
The Government should recognise the need for an integrated strategy to warn people of health dangers and encourage them to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
This will require an integrated strategy in the areas of health, education, sport, and legislation governing advertising.
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