Food: A Solution to a Health Crisis

You are warmly invited to an event sponsored by Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, the Scottish Food Coalition and Obesity Action Scotland.

Taking place in Garden Lobby at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 14th June 2017, our event will start at 6pm.

The keynote address will be given by Mads Frederik Fischer-MØller.

Mads is a Senior Advisor on Food in the Nordic Council of Ministers. His presentation will provide illuminating views on Nordic food culture, nutrition policy and the impact of food programmes and activities in the Nordic countries. 

During the past 10 years the Nordic governments took a new approach that seeks to change the food culture and consumption patterns to solve the problem of poor diet in cooperation with the consumers and food businesses.

Government policies have played a key role in promoting a new and more sustainable Nordic cuisine to international fame.

Through product innovations and public-private partnerships on issues like food waste and nutritional labelling, these new ideas are being incorporated in everyday life in the Nordic countries.

The results are already here:

  1. consumption of whole grain products and traditional vegetables like cabbage and carrots are on the rise
  2. salads are challenging hotdogs as the favourite fast food option
  3. markets for local and organic products are growing 10% annually
  4. on a population level, the Nordic countries have stopped the rise in overweight and obesity. 

This short address will be followed by questions and an informal networking session.
Refreshments will be provided.

This event is free but you must register in advance. If you are able to attend please RSVP to and advise of any dietary or access requirements.

Would Collaboration Create an Advantage in Tackling Obesity?

OAS Alliance




This is the question we posed at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow on Friday 22nd April.

Obesity is one of the biggest public health threats we face in Scotland. The scale of the problem has reached crisis and its effects are felt across all areas of our society and economy. Yet, despite the best efforts of many, overall obesity levels continue to rise.

So perhaps it’s time to pool skills and expertise to turn around the direction we are taking as a country; to get started by looking for examples of success in other areas of public health; to explore how others have achieved their goals and to seek out new approaches?

The obvious starting point is the long-running and hugely successful campaign on smoking in Scotland. In 2016 Scotland celebrates 10 years of being smoke-free in public places. This is a tremendous success and is, in large part, down to the success of collaborations. Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, will be providing her insight into how an alliance has helped the campaign on tackling tobacco use.

So what opportunities could be opened up by creating an ‘obesity alliance’ for Scotland? What benefits could it create? Is there a desire for such a collaborative approach? These are some of the questions we will be exploring today.

We are excited to be looking at new approaches to tackling obesity in Scotland and will be sharing outcomes and next steps from today’s event over the coming few weeks.

“Collaborative advantage can achieve higher level objectives for society as a whole." Chris Huxham, Emeritus Professor, Strathclyde Business School

Childhood Obesity - More Needs to be Done

New figures out today show there is no room for complacency in the issue of childhood obesity. ISD today published the annual Primary 1 Body Mass Index Statistics in Scotland.

When epidemiological thresholds in the BMI distribution were used to classify children’s weight, 77.1% of Primary 1 children in Scotland were classified as healthy weight in school year 2014/15. This is a small increase from the 2013/14 figure of 76.4% but a small decrease from the year before (2012/13 figure of 77.5%).

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Tackling Obesity is Top Priority - Let’s Do This!

Obesity Action Scotland welcomes today’s (20th January 2016) Board Paper from Food Standards Scotland (FSS) which marks a turning point in Scotland’s intention to progress towards a healthier diet.

Obesity Action Scotland is delighted to see that FSS has shifted the discussion on regulation and taxation of Scotland’s food environment from if it should happen to when and how it should happen.

FSS recognise that policies with good intentions have, until now, been insufficient to alter the rise in obesity and that voluntary approaches to working with industry have had a poor response in Scotland. FSS highlight that now is the time to take new approaches to improve the food and drink environment - the use of taxation and regulation are steps we should now take.

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Sugar Tax Debate

Sugar is constantly hitting the headlines due to recent developments in evidence and calls for new policies to reduce the levels of sugar consumption across the UK population. The recent support for Jamie Oliver’s petition to Introduce a tax on sugary drinks in the UK to improve our children’s health led the UK Parliament to hold a debate on 30th November 2015. There was widespread support across political parties for a tax on sugar sweetened drinks.
Watch the proceedings or read the transcript.

Bold Commitments Needed to Tackle Obesity

A group of leading experts has urged all levels of Government to take bold, committed action to change Scotland’s diet including

  • restricting marketing and promotions
  • reducing sugar and fat content of foods
  • pricing measures such as a sugar tax
  • improving labelling of foods bought in shops and restaurants

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Obesity Policy Requires More Effort

“Slow Progress. Limited Success. Requires much more effort.” That is the conclusion of Obesity Action Scotland on obesity in Scotland six years after the publication of Scottish Government’s Obesity Route Map. At a time when voluntary health sector organisations are highlighting the importance of healthy weight in the prevention of diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, two in three adults in Scotland remain overweight or obese.

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