Childhood obesity is getting worse, despite the promises

10 October 2019

Today (10th October 2019) England’s CMO is launching her final report with many strong recommendations for action on childhood obesity. Tomorrow (11th October 2019) is World Obesity Day with a focus on childhood obesity. 


In Scotland we face the same challenges that the CMO outlines in her final report “Time to Solve Childhood Obesity”. We have a Government that is committed to halving childhood obesity by 2030, but current figures indicate we are a long way from achieving that.

Since the First Minister made her commitment to Jamie Oliver to halve childhood obesity (May 2018) there has been no decline in the prevalence of obesity in children aged 2-15 in Scotland. Rather, this year’s health survey results indicate almost 18,000 more children aged 2-15 in Scotland are at risk of obesity than when the ambition was announced.

Scotland has a long way to go if we are to reach the Government’s ambition of halving childhood obesity by 2030. Currently, we are not on track and swift, ambitious action is required if we are to make any progress towards the target.

We must see the urgent implementation of policies and regulatory approaches to protect children from the obesogenic food environment.  The Scottish Government has already committed to a Bill on Restricting Food Promotions, it must take strong action on advertising where it has the power and it must implement strong regulation for the out of home sector.   There are also many proposals within the CMO’s report out today that we should consider and apply in Scotland.


Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead, Obesity Action Scotland commented:

“Since the First Minster made her promise to halve childhood obesity in Scotland we have actually seen an increase in the number of children at risk of obesity.  The Scottish Government have made many commitments to tackle this issue but we need to see greater ambition and swifter implementation to protect the health of our children. We urgently need to tackle the incessant marketing and advertising of unhealthy foods and the proliferation of calorie-laden restaurant and take away foods. The longer we delay, the more children will suffer from obesity related conditions.  Nothing is worth that risk. We want to see the promise delivered and will work to support the Government in pursuit of bold measures.”


Find out more about the situation in Scotland in our blog 'Protecting our Children: How do we meet the childhood obesity 2030 target in Scotland?'