Ian Thomas Associates

Tackling obesity – providing healthy eating information to consumers

On 13th June 2012, the Department of Health (DoH) and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) each published a document aimed at improving consumers’ diets, increasing exercise and creating healthier lifestyles.

The DoH publication, “Your Guide to Healthy Eating Using the Food Pyramid”, provides useful information about a variety of topics relating to diet and physical activity and looks at the importance of portion size in controlling the quantity of food we consume.

The top shelf of the food pyramid contains foods that “are high in fat, sugar and salt, are not essential for health and taken in excess can be harmful”.  Alcohol is now included in the top shelf as it contains calories. 

The other publication entitled, “Healthy Eating and Active Living for Adults, Teenagers and Children over 5 years – A Food Guide for Health Professionals and Catering Services” is produced by the FSAI in conjunction with the DoH, the Health Service Executive and safefood.

This is a more detailed document and provides information across all areas associated with promoting healthy lifestyles. This Guide goes back to basics and advises that our need for food depends on four main criteria; body size, age, gender and activity level. It provides guideline daily calorie intake figures across age ranges, gender and activity levels.

Both publications provide specific information about the reduced guideline limits for alcohol consumption and drinking habits. The DoH publication advises that for women the “low risk” weekly limits are up to 11 standard drinks and for men the figure is 17. The same figures are used in the FSAI document except the reference there is to “units” rather than “standard drinks”. The guides explain what is meant by one standard drink and one unit which for example equates to half a pint of normal strength beer or lager.

The guides are easy to read and provide practical examples of how we can improve our eating habits and increase the amount of exercise to create a healthier lifestyle.

Further information can be found at:


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