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

Today, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) publishes a Situation Report “The Scottish Diet: It needs to change”.
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 change 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% of adult’s and nearly 16% 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%). 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 their 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 that 79% of sugar sweetened fizzy drinks contained more than the new recommended daily adult intake of free sugar. 

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

  • 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

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 the Scottish Government to take bold, committed action to reduce sugar and fat content of foods, tipping the balance of cost and availability to healthier foods.”

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