Take Action Scotland!
We face a significant challenge in the epidemic of obesity and overweight within Scotland and the UK. Obesity and overweight grew to crisis proportions because individual biology and psychology are not in tune with current lifestyles. Our obesogenic environment promotes overconsumption of energy dense foods and inactive lifestyles. The complex interplay of factors that create obesity and overweight cannot be dealt with by simply encouraging individual behaviour change.
In Scotland in 2014, 65% of adults were overweight, including 28% who were obese. Two in every three people are overweight or obese.
Levels of overweight and obesity (measured by mean body mass index) have not changed significantly between 2008 and 2014, however, the picture has worsened since 1995. Whilst rates are not rising significantly at the moment, the prevalence within Scotland is unacceptably high.
International comparisons indicate that Scotland has above average levels of adult overweight and obesity. Based on recent OECD figures Scotland has the second highest rate of obesity in adults in Europe, only Hungary has a higher rate.
In 2014, 31% of Scotland's children were at risk of becoming overweight (including obesity). 17% were at risk of becoming obese.
Levels of obesity and overweight have been fairly stable in recent years but some years in the past have shown significant fluctuations. There is evidence that being obese in childhood increases the risk of becoming an obese adult.
Being obese or overweight can increase the risk of developing a range of serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, some cancers and premature death. For example, Type 2 diabetes is almost 13 times more likely to occur in obese women than in women of normal weight. Many of the diseases that arise in association with obesity shorten life expectancy by 2 to 4 years for those with class 1 obesity (BMI 30-35) and by 8 to 10 years for those with a BMI between 40 and 50.