Food Standards Scotland welcomes the Scottish Health and Sports Committee member’s debate in Parliament

Food Standards Scotland welcomes the Scottish Health and Sports Committee member’s debate in Parliament today (24 January 2017) to discuss opportunities to tackle obesity, from World Cancer Research Day to price promotions.

Food Standards Scotland is committed to helping consumers in Scotland have healthier diets and continues to address our diet-related poor health.  The Food Standards Situation Report: The Scottish Diet it Needs to Change states that around one third of children and two thirds of adults are overweight or obese already and it is predicted that 40% of adults in Scotland could be obese by 2030 unless we start to make changes now.

In October last year, Food Standards Scotland held a Board meeting to discuss an update on setting the direction of the Scottish diet. This included a report assessing the out of home food and drink market in Scotland, which increased by 3% between 2014 and 2015 and showed many of the top food and beverages consumed out of the home in Scotland tend to be less healthy. Food Standards Scotland’s forthcoming Board meeting in February will focus on its Obesity Strategy, which may include recommendations to Scottish Ministers and highlights some progress made to date, whilst pointing to areas where there is still a long way to go.

Food Standards Scotland recommended a package of measures to Ministers in 2016 designed to tackle the obesity problem in Scotland and one of these measures was marketing campaigns. In March 2017, Food Standards Scotland will be re-running its thought-provoking healthy eating campaign, aimed at encouraging people in Scotland to reduce the number of unhealthy snacks they eat. We appreciate that asking people to cut down on unhealthy snacks we all indulge in and enjoy might not be the most popular approach, however the obesity and overweight projections show we’re at a critical point, and unpopular messages and actions may be the only way to give us the wake-up call that’s needed.

Ross Finnie chair of Food Standards Scotland said “I welcome this debate as all party consensus is going to be vital in achieving the scale of change necessary to tackle obesity. With projected levels of obesity at 40% by 2030, this is not only a health issue but an economic one too. We cannot afford to carry on as we are with a further 15 years of no progress against the Scottish Dietary goals”