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Food Standards Scotland outlines ambitious plans to support consumers in Scotland to have healthier diets

Food Standards Scotland has published new plans for its Diet and Nutrition vision for the next five years, to support the strategic ambition for Scotland to have healthier diets.

The paper is published alongside a Situation Report which highlighted little improvement to Scotland’s diet with two out of three of adults living in the country either overweight or obese, and a higher proportion of adults living with overweight or obesity in the more deprived areas.

Food Standards Scotland intends to influence change through its unique position – independent from government – as Scotland’s primary source of evidence on diet in Scotland. We aim to make a positive difference to Scotland’s health through our recommendations to government, which influence policy actions to improve diet and illicit change.  

Food Standards Scotland Chair, Ross Finnie, said:

“To reduce the burden of obesity and diet-related disease in Scotland, an increasingly agile response to changing food landscapes is critical.

“An imminent focus is the current and future impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on what we buy and eat. We will ensure our monitoring role keeps pace, given the clear link between excess weight and poorer outcomes from COVID-19.

“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of and thank our Public Health Nutritionists for their expert advice and strong collaborative approach which will continue as we help all of Scotland work towards a healthier diet.”

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“The approach outlined by Food Standards Scotland will play an important part in supporting our vision to create a country where everyone eats well, and we all have a healthy weight.

“Too many people in Scotland face serious risks to their health associated with poor diet and unhealthy weight, and this is an unacceptable situation.

“The Scottish Government looks forward to working with Food Standards Scotland and our many partners on achieving our bold ambition for a healthier Scotland.”

FSS’s Head of Public Health Nutrition, Dr Gillian Purdon presented the new plans at FSS’s Board meeting earlier this week, and said:

“Our expert team has developed an extensive dietary monitoring and surveillance programme, and we are the only organisation in Scotland which collects and publishes a national picture of trends to monitor our progress towards the Scottish Dietary Goals, and we will continue to do so over the next five years.

“Collaborative working is paramount to achieve Scotland’s dietary health goals, as well as focusing on the lower socio economic groups, who have poorer health outcomes.

“We have a duty to provide advice to support consumers in achieving a balanced diet, but recognise that this can be a confusing landscape. We are developing a  resource to deliver evidence-based dietary advice in a practical pragmatic style to encourage consumers to make positive changes to their diets in the context of their own lives, which will be available next year.”

This paper provides further detail from the high level vision for diet and nutrition outlined in Food Standards Scotland’s draft Strategy to 2026, which is currently being consulted on.

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The Scottish Diet - It needs to change 2020 update

This update to the Situation Report on the Scottish Diet continues to highlight the ongoing challenge to improve the Scottish diet, including new sections exploring the out of home environment. It is important to note that the data included covers a period