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obesity increase Three in four would support a ban on celebrities endorsing unhealthy food and drink

An additional 75pc would support an end to price promotions encouraging larger meal sizes


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A recent study by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the Irish Heart Foundation has found that 76pc of people believe there should be a ban on celebrities endorsing junk food.

The research found that some 85pc of people support a ban on the advertisement of unhealthy food and drink brands within games and apps played by children under 16.

In 2013, a partial ban on broadcast advertising to children was introduced but the Irish Heart Foundation says that this has caused advertisers to target them through apps and games on their phones.

Helena O’Donnell, childhood obesity campaign manager at the organisation, said: “Brands have now achieved an inappropriate proximity to children online, engaging relentlessly in school, at home and even in their bedrooms, mostly through smartphones.

Ms O’Donnell warned the country now faces “losing a generation of children” to obesity-related disease and added that “the State is failing to protect children’s health.”

Ipsos MRBI’s study found that more than three in four people are also in favour of prohibiting children’s toys being sold alongside junk foods or sugary confectionary.

An additional 75pc would support an end to price promotions encouraging larger meal sizes.

The Irish Heart Foundation says that these promotions contribute largely to obesity and high blood pressure.

The charity says that children as young as eight are presenting with high blood pressure and young people are showing early signs of heart disease usually seen in middle-aged men.

“More children will go on to suffer heart disease and stroke in the future,” Ms O’Donnell continued.

She warned that unless “drastic action” is taken, 85,000 of this generation of children will die prematurely due to being overweight.

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