Our weight is causing us a problem.

Saturday 21st May is European Obesity Day, an appropriate time for Scotland to consider the public health crisis it is facing with obesity and overweight and to commit to action.

In 2014, 2 in 3 Scottish people aged between 16 and 64 were obese or overweight. In recent years, the underlying trend in adult obesity has been increasing, especially amongst pregnant women.  Obesity in children - once very rare – is also an increasing cause for concern, with the gap between obese children from affluent families and those in deprived families widening.

Why is obesity an issue?  The problem is much more serious than just looking big.  Excess body fat is not just a store of energy. Fat cells produce various hormones and chemicals which are carried by blood around the body. They increase the risk of eleven different cancers and type 2 diabetes. Obesity is also linked to cardiovascular disease, impaired fertility in both women and men, complications of pregnancy, problems with breathing, diseases of digestive and musculoskeletal systems, depression and anxiety. Every year obesity is a cause of 337,000 premature deaths in Europe.

Saturday 21st May 2016 is European Obesity Day. It started in May 2010 as a grass roots campaign involving a small group of concerned doctors and patients. Today, it is a campaign platform of European Association for the Study of Obesity with its own website offering a wealth of information and suggestions of events and actions.

The theme of European Obesity Day in 2016 is Action for Healthier Future.  A Healthier Future will require concerted effort from everyone from government to individuals.

Obesity Action Scotland are calling for all MSPs across the new Scottish Parliament to commit to 5 measures to tip the scales in favour of healthy weight.

  1. Implement actions that will achieve healthy weight in Scotland
  2. Explore how price and regulation could improve the Scottish diet
  3. Reinvest revenue from the sugar tax into initiatives to help children achieve healthy weight
  4. Position the public sector to lead by example in tackling obesity
  5. Create a framework to reduce sugar and fat content of food to improve the Scottish diet