It is extremely concerning that there are 3,800 cases of bowel cancer every year in Scotland, with about 1,600 people who actually die from this horrible disease. And the figures link 4,800 cases of bowel cancer over the past 10 years to obesity. Obesity and serious illnesses such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and diet-related cancers are currently estimated to cost the Scottish economy £2.37 billion a year, but this does not take into account the long-lasting impact they have on individuals and their families.
There is no single ‘silver bullet’ solution to these issues, which is why Food Standards Scotland has put forward a broad range of measures to Scottish Government to tackle Scotland’s poor health and diet.
A soft drinks industry levy has already had some effect and we have seen soft drinks producers reducing the sugar content of their products as a result. However, Food Standards Scotland remains of the view that a tax on sugar content across other food and drink should also be introduced.
Our recent recommendations include calls for regulation of promotions, promotion of healthier options, a reduction in portion sizes and more effort from the out of home sector to increase the availability of healthier options and provide clear calorie information for consumers.
In our view, regulation helps to create a level playing field for industry, and without it, we face the very real prospect of increasing diet-related ill health, including cancer-related diseases, which place unsustainable burdens on the NHS and our economy.