Tackling childhood obesity

FM meets Jamie Oliver to outline ambition to halve child obesity rate.

Scotland will aim to halve childhood obesity by 2030, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The Scottish Government will set the target in its Healthy Weight and Diet plan, due to be published in summer 2018. Currently, 29% of children in Scotland are at risk of being overweight, including 14% who are at risk of being obese. Nine out of ten people believe obesity is a serious problem in the country. Responses to a recent public consultation on the diet and healthy weight plan showed strong support for the government restricting marketing of unhealthy food.

The First Minister announced the commitment while meeting campaigner and chef Jamie Oliver to discuss joint action to tackle child obesity and unhealthy eating.

The First Minister said: “Obesity is a serious public health issue which cannot be ignored. Evidence shows obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and become more likely to suffer health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age.

“Our guiding ambition is to halve child obesity in Scotland by 2030 and we’ll outline in our forthcoming Healthy Weight plan how we will develop the necessary actions to achieve this, and help everybody make healthy choices about food.

“As part of this, we will tackle junk food promotions and the marketing of unhealthy food, such as multi-buys, that encourage overconsumption. To ensure that the steps we take are proportionate and deliver beneficial outcomes, we will consult widely with consumers, suppliers and retailers following the release of the new plan.

“Diet and activity go together and our Healthy Weight plan will build on programmes like Scotland’s Daily Mile that encourage children to be more active, by helping them to improve diet as well and to ensure our younger generations can live fit, healthy and active lives.”

Jamie Oliver said: “First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has shown she cares about the health of Scotland's kids by committing to halving childhood obesity in the next 12 years. We look forward to seeing her strong multi-layered strategy.”

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s cancer prevention expert said: “It’s fantastic that the Scottish Government has reinforced its commitment to tackling Scotland’s obesity crisis. With so many people carrying too much weight, it’s clear bold action is needed.

“Obesity is the biggest cause of cancer after smoking and is responsible for around 2,200 cases a year in Scotland.

“Price promotions play a significant part in what families choose to put into their shopping basket. In the battle to protect the health of future generations, it’s crucial laws are introduced to restrict the damaging supermarket junk food price promotions that are contributing to the nation’s obesity problem.”


Analysis of responses to public consultation on the diet and healthy weight delivery plan can be found on the Scottish Government website.

Nine out of ten people in Scotland think obesity is a serious problem in the country, and 82% believe reducing obesity is a shared responsibility (The Scottish Diet - It needs to change 2018 update, Food Standards Scotland, 2018).


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