A healthier future: Scotland's diet and healthy weight delivery plan

Sets out how we will work with partners in the public and private sector to help people make healthier choices about food.

Outcome 4: Leaders across all sectors promote health diet and weight

Ambitions and actions on this scale cannot be taken forward by Government alone. Our recently published Public Health Priorities for Scotland identifies a healthy diet as a key priority, and highlights the need for strong collective leadership and partnership across the public, private, third and community sectors. All along the way we must also engage with people and communities to support them to make better decisions about their diet and weight – and their health more generally. This is central to the ambition and success of this plan.

Since our consultation, alongside Government, leaders from across all sectors have committed to champion this agenda, to work with us to develop and showcase good practice, and to test new approaches. By leading by example, our aim is to inspire others.

Improving the food we serve

Scotland's public sector is leading the way in promoting healthier food. There are statutory regulations for schools to ensure that our children get the most nutritious start in life. In hospitals, we provide food appropriate to patients' needs, while visitors and staff can eat in a Healthyliving Award ( HLA) canteen or buy a healthy lunch from a Healthcare Retail Standard shop. [55] All Scottish Government and Parliament sites meet HLA nutrition criteria at the plus level.

Action 4.1 We will draw on the expertise of the HLA team and develop an action plan to ensure everybody has good food options no matter where they live, building on good practice and taking advantage of locally sourced, seasonal produce. FSS will consult on an Out of Home Strategy in autumn 2018 which will consider how the Healthyliving Award might be adapted for use by the public sector, and other options relevant to public sector food outlets.

Action 4.2 Sporta, the national association of leisure and cultural trusts, [56] will work with and support members to adopt the HLA to ensure healthier options are available and promoted in cafes and vending machines. By spring 2019, at least half of Sporta members in Scotland will have achieved the HLA.

Action 4.3 Menus in schools, hospitals and elsewhere drives the procurement of food. The Scottish Government will by 2020 publish guidance to support healthier choices where this is not yet in place and look for opportunities to increase the sourcing of local, healthier, seasonal produce including through the Food For Life Programme.


Source: Food Standards Scotland Situation Report 2018

Ensuring everyone can eat well

We recognise that too many people are still affected by food insecurity and there is a need for continued action by Government to ensure they and their families can eat well.

Action 4.4 Through our £1 million a year Fair Food Fund, the Scottish Government will continue to support community food providers that help people experiencing food insecurity to access fresh, healthy food in dignified ways and that help people develop the skills and knowledge needed to plan and prepare nutritious food for themselves and their families.

Action 4.5 The Scottish Government will continue our support for FareShare, to redistribute high quality surplus food from the food and retail sectors to community food providers to support their work on food insecurity.

Action 4.6 The Scottish Government will continue to support the Empowering Communities Fund, which provides support to communities to tackle poverty and health inequality on their own terms. We will also continue to support the Fair Food Transformation Fund which focuses on tackling food poverty.

Action 4.7 Community Food and Health (Scotland), in partnership with the Scottish Government, will hold a summit in winter 2019 to explore how we can best enhance local community-led initiatives to make healthy, affordable food more accessible.

Supporting students to eat well and have a healthy weight

Colleges and universities have an important role in promoting healthy eating and physical activity, and ensuring young people have the support they need to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Action 4.8 Ahead of the academic year 2019-20, the Scottish Funding Council ( SFC) will develop a comprehensive approach to healthy diet and weight, starting with colleges. This will include consideration of the food available in canteens and vending machines; information and support on diet and weight; staff health and wellbeing; regular opportunities for physical activity, including through participation in sports activity; and recognition and transfer of best practice. The SFC will also participate in the forthcoming UK Healthy Universities 'Summit' to ensure its approach is informed by best practice in Scotland, the UK and further afield.

Local leadership and action to improve diet and weight

There is consensus that diet and healthy weight, and being active, is one of the important things that Scotland as a whole must focus on over the next decade to improve Scotland's health. This will require action by national and local government and partnerships across the system.

Action 4.9 The Scottish Government welcomes the commitment of leaders in the following areas to work with us and partners to develop and champion a whole-systems approach to diet and weight: North Ayrshire, Dundee, and the East Region community planning partnerships.

People eating in cafe

Open Door Café

Action 4.10 Building on their existing policies and plans, they will show how they are:

  • building collective leadership, including with public services, the third sector and local businesses, and joining up action across a range of partners on prevention, early intervention and reducing inequalities;
  • amplifying the voices of people and communities with the poorest health outcomes, and highlighting and promoting changes that will make a positive difference to their capacity to eat well, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and be active;
  • embedding community-led health activities in service planning, design and delivery;
  • addressing the wider determinants of health and the complex set of factors that affect people's diet and weight;
  • improving the use of local data and wider intelligence to build a comprehensive portfolio of interventions, filling gaps, and taking action across the life course to co-produce improvements for people's diet and weight, particularly those living in deprived communities;
  • being an 'early adopter' of the national Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Framework including developing new – or extending existing - weight management services, and working with the Scottish Government and partners to inform - and be a test bed for – other key national developments; and
  • improving the use of technology and innovation.

Action 4.11 The Scottish Government, with NHS Health Scotland, Obesity Action Scotland and other partners, will work with these areas to support local delivery and showcase best practice.

Action 4.12 FSS will support these partnerships to encourage local catering businesses to introduce calorie labelling on their menus by providing a calorie labelling tool ( Menucal) together with supporting information. Food Standard Scotland will also evaluate the introduction of calorie labelling in these areas with a view to wider roll out across Scotland.

Improving the health, diet and weight of Scotland's workforce

As well as action addressing the places where we live and shop, we must consider what more can be achieved in the places where we work, recognising the links between the health and wellbeing of staff, performance, absenteeism, and recruitment and retention.

Action 4.13 The Scottish Government will by September 2018 develop a strategy to further promote the health and wellbeing of staff and, as an exemplar, encourage others in the private, public and voluntary sectors - particularly the NHS - to commit to taking action.

Action 4.14 The Scottish Government will review by April 2019 our Health Works Strategy for working-age people in Scotland, which includes promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace, healthy food choices in canteens, physical activity and active travel.

Ambition 2030: A growth strategy for farming, fishing, food and drink is Scotland's Food & Drink's strategy to drive the food and drink sector forward over the coming years. It is a product of partnership between the food and drink industry and the Scottish Government. Whilst economic growth is at its heart, the strategy commits the sector to providing leadership in improving the health and wellbeing of both its own workforce and the wider Scottish population. Partnership between industry and the public sector has driven the growth of the sector in recent years. This same approach can now drive forward the critically important health agenda where there has been less progress. A focus on a healthier diet presents real opportunities for food and drink producers to innovate to meet market demand. Crucially though, it will also underpin Scotland's growing reputation as a home of world class products and an industry that is a leader in responsible growth.

Action 4.15 As part of delivering Ambition 2030, Scotland Food & Drink will work with its partners across industry and the Scottish Government to develop a programme to improve the health and wellbeing of the sector's 120,000-strong workforce.


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