Scotland tackles childhood obesity

Scotland will aim to halve childhood obesity by 2030, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. The Scottish government will set the target in its Healthy Weight and Diet plan, due to be published in summer 2018. Currently, 29% of children in Scotland are at risk of being overweight, including 14% who are at risk of being obese.

Nine out of ten people believe obesity is a serious problem in the country. Responses to a recent public consultation on the diet and healthy weight plan showed strong support for the government restricting marketing of unhealthy food.

Sturgeon announced the commitment while meeting campaigner and chef Jamie Oliver to discuss joint action to tackle child obesity and unhealthy eating.

She says, “Our guiding ambition is to halve child obesity in Scotland by 2030 and we’ll outline in our forthcoming Healthy Weight plan how we will develop the necessary actions to achieve this, and help everybody make healthy choices about food.

“As part of this, we will tackle junk food promotions and the marketing of unhealthy food, such as multi-buys, that encourage overconsumption. To ensure that the steps we take are proportionate and deliver beneficial outcomes, we will consult widely with consumers, suppliers and retailers following the release of the new plan.

“Diet and activity go together and our Healthy Weight plan will build on programmes like Scotland’s Daily Mile that encourage children to be more active, by helping them to improve diet as well and to ensure our younger generations can live fit, healthy and active lives.”

Oliver adds, “First minister Nicola Sturgeon has shown she cares about the health of Scotland’s kids by committing to halving childhood obesity in the next 12 years. We look forward to seeing her strong multi-layered strategy.”

Heather Peace, head of public health nutrition at Food Standards Scotland, concludes, “Food Standards Scotland welcomes the Scottish government’s commitment to halving childhood obesity in Scotland by 2030, and we will continue to work with the Scottish government and others to help achieve this objective.

“Food Standards Scotland has recommended a package of measures to urgently address this serious issue, and it’s essential that industry, government and the people of Scotland all work together to turn the tide on obesity.”

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