Updated | Childhood obesity: Malta suggests ‘tool kit’ to help schools procure the right meals

Health Minister Chris Fearne tells MEPs that tackling childhood obesity is high on Malta’s presidency health agenda • PN MP Robert Cutajar takes Fearne to task for not enforcing obesity law

In Malta, 41% of children have been classified as obese
In Malta, 41% of children have been classified as obese

Childhood obesity has become an acute problem across all member states of the European Union, requiring urgent action to start reversing the rise in this non-communicable disease, Health Minister Chris Fearne has told MEPs.

Addressing Euro parliamentarians sitting on the public health committee, Fearne said childhood obesity had reached epidemic proportions across the globe.

“During our presidency of the council, we want to propose concrete measures to take the fight against obesity from paper to action,” the minister said.

Malta will be proposing to drafting of “a tool kit” that would help schools across Europe draft their tenders for the procurement of meals.

Many schoolchildren are served up to three meals a day daily, making the production of meals for schools a substantial part of the European food market.

The tool kit would help guide schools to what children should be eating, creating a demand for nutritious food on the market.

“Schools should not only be teaching students which is the right food to it, but they should also be feeding them well,” Fearne said.

‘Introduce legal notices to enforce obesity law’ – PN MP

Opposition MP Robert Cutajar urged the government to introduce into law four draft legal notices that would enforce a landmark obesity Bill that passed into law a few years ago.

Cutajar, who had spearheaded that Bill, suggested that Fearne was dragging his feet because the law had been proposed by an Opposition MP.

“It truly saddens me that Fearne doesn’t have the courage to introduce this law,” he said in his adjounrment. “It’s true that it doesn’t have his signature on it, but should we act in such a manner on health issues?”

He took Fearne to task for failing to even refer to the obesity law during his address at the European Parliament earlier today.

“We should be proud of the law, which is after all the first law passed by a European country that takes both a whole government and whole society approach to obesity.”

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