Daisy Hill Hospital canteen to get ‘caloriewise’

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Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Pictured at the launch of the Caloriewise scheme are: (Back): Kate Conley, Joy Sloan, Katie Treanor, Hayley Reilly, (all from SHSCNI), and (front): Elizabeth Gregson with the Health Minister, Edwin Poots MLA

The Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland has launched a scheme which will see local food businesses displaying calorie information on menus and takeaway food for the first time. Among the first to pilot the scheme is the Southern Health Trust, which will trial the scheme in staff and visitor canteens in Daisy Hill Hospital. The campaign focuses on educating people about the recommended daily calorie intake of 2000 calories for a woman and 2500 for a man, providing information to encourage healthier choices when eating out of home. Speaking at the launch, the Health Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, congratulated the organisations which have had, what he described as, the “foresight and vision” to participate in the pilot scheme, stating that he recognises the effort and commitment required to make it a success. The Minister said: “Protecting public health is my department’s number one priority. You only have to look at the figures to appreciate the enormous challenge we are facing: in Northern Ireland around 6 out of every 10 adults are either overweight or obese. We have set ourselves challenging targets in the strategy, A Fitter Future for All, not only to stop the rise in obesity levels but to actively reduce them over the next three years. This will not be an easy process and will require changes in our lifestyles and behaviours.” He added, “The Caloriewise scheme gives consumers the power to make informed choices. With so many of us eating on the move now, anything which raises awareness of the healthier choices we can make is a good thing. I would like to congratulate the Food Standards Agency and the participating businesses in Northern Ireland for working in partnership to deliver real benefits for consumers and I would urge other businesses to pick up this mantle and work with the FSA in order to have a positive impact on your customers’ health.” Maria Jennings, Head of Dietary Health at the Food Standards Agency in NI explained, “In Northern Ireland, eight out of ten of us eat outside the home every week, accounting for one in six meals. For all of these occasions, we often have no idea how many calories we are consuming. Eating out clearly presents a major information gap for customers. Caloriewise is not just about the occasional ’dining out’ experience, but the more frequent occasions like visiting a sandwich bar for lunch on the run, meeting a friend for coffee or regular eating in a workplace canteen.” Maria  continued, “The Caloriewise scheme is designed to get people thinking a bit more about their overall calorie intake in a day and encouraging them to make informed choices to keep the calories in check. Food outlets will not only display calorie content for individual items and portions but also a clear reminder of the recommended daily intake on posters and leaflets.”
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