Scotland has one of the highest levels of obesity in OECD countries with over a million adults and over 150,000 children obese. This is predicted to worsen with adult obesity levels reaching over 40% by 2030. Overweight and obesity brings with it a risk of disease and a cost to society that will directly impact on our ability to achieve sustainable economic growth. This situation is avoidable.
Overweight and obesity cannot be tackled by just relying on individuals to change their behaviour as the factors that contribute to gaining weight have been interwoven into the very fabric of our lifestyles to such an extent that weight gain is almost inevitable in today's society. The evidence also suggests that the provision of health information, although important, is not sufficient and that to make the changes necessary we have to reshape our living environment from one that promotes weight gain to one that supports healthy choices.
There are already many policies in place that have the potential to be positive contributors to prevention of weight gain. But if we are to prevent overweight and obesity we must increase the scale and range of our activities. We must also be alert when developing new policies at national and local level to ensure that they do not inadvertently increase the potential for individuals to gain weight.
The Route Map has been agreed by Cabinet and COSLA's Leaders Group, and is aimed primarily at decision-makers in central and local government. These are the people who can influence and enable the range and scale of action that we believe is required. Working together across all the public sector, the third sector, and business we can make the necessary changes that can impact on the way we lead our lives. To support this we will also develop a public health campaign, to raise the nation's consciousness about the need for change.
The levels of overweight and obesity in Scotland are a serious concern. We are committed to acting collectively to prevent overweight and obesity, both to contribute to achieving our purpose of sustainable economic growth, and also towards achieving a healthier Scotland. We believe that this document supports a compelling case for action and presents a clear Route Map to prevent overweight and obesity in Scotland.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
COSLA spokesperson on Health and Wellbeing