William Eichler 23 January 2017

Scotland has ‘worst weight outcomes’ in UK, MSPs say

Scotland has the worst weight outcomes of all the UK nations because of an ‘inconsistent’ approach to policies designed to tackle obesity, MSPs warn.

Holyrood’s health and sport committee found Scotland had a good policy framework for fighting obesity, but needed a more consistent approach to implementing and resourcing it.

In a letter to Aileen Campbell, minister for public health and sport, the committee said there should be a joined up policy approach with consideration given from other areas such as education, local government and transport.

The health committee also found 40% of food in the UK is bought on promotion and this is usually junk food. They called for more regulation of the industry and more incentives to promote healthy food.

Furthermore, the committee discovered the gap is widening between the least and most deprived when it comes to obesity because – among other factors - those on low incomes prioritise calories over nutrients and those on high incomes respond better to health messages.

Many adults (40%) were not meeting physical activity guidelines and only 2% of the transport budget was spent on walking and cycling, they said.

‘We all know obesity is one of the biggest issues impacting on the health of people in Scotland and particularly those living in more deprived areas,’ said committee convenor Neil Findlay.

'The threat and impact caused by obesity is nothing new.

‘However, it is disappointing that whilst the Government has good policies in place to try and tackle this issue, they don’t seem to be working and there was an inconsistent approach to resourcing these policies.’

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