Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke has welcomed the fact that the Assembly is to debate a call to boost children’s health.
“We very much support the idea that the money raised by the sugar levy should be used to boost the opportunities for PE in primary schools and make our primary school kids aware of the need to eat healthy food and to be physically active,” said Neil Johnston, Public Affairs Adviser for NICHS.
The Government is to introduce a levy on sugary drinks in 2018 and some estimates have suggested this could make as much as £18m available for the NI Executive to spend on services.
NICHS recently carried out polling that shows that 82% of people in Northern Ireland think that this money should be ring-fenced to promote PE and physical activity.
Neil Johnston continued, “We simply have to do something about the fact 21% of children aged 2-15 are overweight and 7% are obese. Reducing those figures must be a priority for all of us in Northern Ireland and it is up to the NI Executive to take a lead.
“One of the specific measures NICHS wants to see is a guarantee that every primary school child in NI will get two hours of quality PE at school every week.
“The proportion of children classified as either overweight or obese hasn’t changed in ten years so it is clear that we – government, teachers, parents and the voluntary sector – aren’t doing enough. The Sugar Levy will provide the resources to increase both awareness amongst children and to provide them with the opportunities to get active. If we fail to act we are letting our children down and condemning many of them to a lifetime of ill health.”
For more information, please contact Neil Johnston, Policy Advisor for Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke, on 07989 660 798 or firstname.lastname@example.org.