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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-13209: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 7 December 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to tackle obesity; how it promotes an increase in physical activity by teenagers as part of this; what progress is being made by the initiatives, (a) the Recipe for Success, Scotland’s First National Food and Drink policy and (b) Becoming a Good Food Nation, and how it is tackling the difference in levels of obesity between poorer and wealthier areas.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 19 December 2017

The Scottish Government is presently consulting on a bold new diet and obesity strategy which proposes a package of measures to help people be more active and make healthier choices. This includes action to change the food environment and improve children’s diet by limiting the promotion of products high in fat, sugar and salt.

The Government is concerned by the growing evidence that obesity, and particularly child obesity, is increasingly linked to inequality. The strategy will therefore prioritise work with families in poverty and on low incomes to design services and approaches that meet their specific needs and are impactful. More widely we are taking action on addressing the underlying causes for health inequalities: ending poverty, fair wages, supporting families, and improving our physical and social environments. This is coupled with decisive action to address alcohol consumption, reduce smoking rates, encourage active living, healthy eating, and investment to improve mental health services.

The consultation on A Healthier Future - Action and Ambitions on Diet, Activity and Healthy Weight' runs until 31 January 2018.

On physical activity the Scottish Government has invested significantly to promote PE in primary and secondary schools and through the Active School Programme, amongst other initiatives, encourages children and teenagers across Scotland especially those in deprived areas to participate in sport.

The ‘National Food and Drink Policy; Becoming a Good Food Nation’ discussion document from published in 2014 highlighted the successes of Scotland’s first food and drink policy, ‘Recipe for Success’. It also set out the aspiration for Scotland to become a Good Food Nation in terms of what we produce and what we buy, sell and eat. The Scottish Food Commission has since been established to advocate the importance of food and drink to our health, environment, economy and quality of life. The Commission is currently preparing recommendations for the Good Food Nation Bill on which we will be consulting in due course.