A group of leading experts has urged all levels of Government to take bold, committed action to change Scotland’s diet including
Today Food Standards Scotland publishes a Situation Report “The Scottish Diet: It needs to change”[i]. The report highlights that the Scottish diet is too high in calories, fats, sugars and salt, and too low in fibre, fruit and vegetables. Obesity Action Scotland calls for bold, committed action across all levels of Government to ensure we see the significant changes in dietary patterns that is needed.
The diet of the Scottish population has changed little in the last fifteen years and poor eating patterns are ingrained. Figures from FSS also indicate that most Scots think their diet is healthier than it actually is. That is the immediate challenge.
Rates of overweight and obesity in Scotland are unacceptably high. In the adult population two out of three Scottish adults are overweight or obese. This makes people ill and costs the NHS and the wider economy. Action to turn the tide on rates of overweight and obesity needs to be urgent and focussed.
In Scotland more than 14%[ii] of adult’s and nearly 16%[iii] of children’s daily energy intake comes from sugar. This is three times the new recommended daily intake as agreed by Food Standards Scotland today (5%)[iv]. This trend is still well off course, and requires urgent action.
Even drinking one 330ml can of a typical sugar sweetened beverage can take consumers over the daily recommended limit. An adult’s maximum daily recommended intake of free sugar is 30g (less for children 19g or 24g depending on age). A recent survey indicated 79% of sugar sweetened fizzy drinks contained more than the new recommended daily adult intake of free sugar.[v]
Reducing our consumption of sugar and fat is a significant challenge that will take more than advice and encouragement. A package of measures must be introduced that includes
Programme Lead for Obesity Action Scotland Lorraine Tulloch said “ Today’s report should provide us with a wake up call to the challenge we face in delivering a healthier Scotland. Educational messages and voluntary action from industry are not delivering the scale of change we need. We would urge Food Standards Scotland and Scottish Government to take bold, committed action to reduce sugar and fat content of foods and tipping the balance of cost and availability to healthier foods.”
Some Background Facts and Figures on Obesity
Adult Obesity and Overweight.[vi]
Childhood Obesity and Overweight.[vii]
Costs of Obesity[x]
[ii] Public Health England, 2015. Sugar Reduction. The Evidence for Action
[iii] Masson et al, 2012. Food Standards Agency. Survey of Diet among Children in Scotland (2010). Volume 1: Diet, Obesity and Physical Activity
[iv] Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, 2015. Carbohydrates and Health
[viii] McPherson K, Marsh T, Brown M. Foresight, 2007. Tackling Obesities: Future Choices – Project Report. 2nd Edition.
[ix] UK National Audit Office.
[x] Castle A, 2015. SPICe Briefing. Obesity in Scotland.