Gaelscoil Osraí leading the way in healthy eating for children

Donal O' Shea was the guest speaker at event

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Gaelscoil Osraí leading the way in healthy eating for children

Mags McQuillan, Alva Kenny, Fiona Noonan, Ellen Roche, Donal O'Shea, Tanya Hudson, Jennifer Shortall, Fiona Purcell, Paula Houlihan, Catherine Keane with the kids of Gaelscoil Osraí. Photo: Pat Moore.

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Parents and staff of Gaelscoil Osrai enjoyed a well attended and positive evening on Thursday, when Professor Donal O' Shea and Dietician Ellen Roche spoke about healthy eating.

The evening was part of a week-long focus on healthy eating and wellness in the school and parents were given an opportunity to hear from two of the best speakers in the country on the topic of 'Nourishing our Children' — focusing on the importance of and practical ways of ensuring children get the very best chance of learning to eat and drink in a healthy way.

While there are about 15 schools in Kilkenny taking part in the Healthy Promoting School programme at the moment, Gaelscoil Osrai was the first school in Kilkenny, and the first Gaelscoil in the south-east, to be recognised as a Health Promoting School. The school worked under the guidance of the HSE's Joan Murphy, who is the National Healthy Schools Co-ordinator and also a parent in the school. The programme is based on a whole school approach, with heavy emphasis on consultation with everyone in the school community, to establish areas around health promotion that need attention.

Prof O' Shea is one of Ireland’s leading experts on obesity. He is an endocrinologist based at St Vincent’s Hospital and is the clinical lead for the Weight Management services provided at St Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown, Dublin.

In recent years he has appeared on Operation Transformation and is passionate about trying to prevent obesity and caring for those who are obese and overweight.

Ellen Roche, a dietitian with locally based Nutri Vive, provided parents with tips to help manage Fussy Eaters and healthy Lunchbox Ideas.

The importance of healthy eating for children has been a cause for concern for a number of years.

Healthy eating policy

Having established a committee of teachers, pupils and parents the school devised a new healthy eating policy, and Prof O' Shea and Ms Roche both agreed that it is an excellent policy and that Gaelscoil Osrai are leading the way in this important area.