Healthy Eating, Active Living: An action plan to improve diet, increase physical activity and tackle obesity (2008-2011)

Healthy Eating, Active Living: An action plan to improve diet, increase physical activity and tackle obesity (2008-2011)

3 Building on Success - Strategies, Targets and Goals

In Scotland we have well established strategies to improve our diet and encourage greater physical activity. Eating for Health - A Diet Action Plan for Scotland (1996) identified practical measures across the food supply chain to support improvement in our diet. It also set out dietary targets and a number of recommendations aimed at reducing dietary related morbidity and mortality in Scotland. These were endorsed by Improving Health in Scotland - The Challenge (2003) 13 and Eating for Health - Meeting the Challenge (2004). 14 The National Physical Activity Strategy (2003) 15 endorsed international recommendations for the quantity and quality of physical activity required for a health benefit.

The broad objectives of the current physical activity and diet strategies are to:

  • Create, improve and maintain the supply of natural and built environments encouraging more active lifestyles (this includes opportunities for walking, cycling and informal recreation space as well as formal leisure centres, sports fields or swimming pools);
  • Develop, increase and maintain capacity in a wide range of settings and sectors to support people to become more active;
  • Stimulate interest in and demand for increased participation in physical activity by raising awareness in the general population and relevant professional groups about the health and wellbeing benefits and the recommended guidelines for achieving these;
  • Promote healthy food choices, meal preparation and eating habits by communicating practical achievable steps towards the consumption
    of a healthier diet;
  • Increase access to healthier food choices, particularly for those on low incomes and provide support, education and skill development to allow people to break through the barriers of food affordability and availability, and the negative impact of culture and lack of food skills;
  • Work with the food manufacturing, processing and retailing industries to further develop and promote healthier choices;
  • Ensure that primary food producers at both national and local level contribute fully to the achievement of Scottish dietary goals; and
  • Monitor impact of current activity and ensure current policy and practice are supported by best available evidence.

We will continue to monitor progress in implementation of the physical activity and diet strategies through existing and new targets. The current targets for physical activity described in the strategy are left unaltered.

National Physical Activity Strategy

The National Physical Activity Strategy included the target that by 2022, 50% of adults and 80% of children will be expected to meet the current recommended levels of physical activity and that adults should accumulate at least thirty minutes of moderate intensity activity on most days of the week and that children should accumulate at least one hour of moderate intensity activity on each day of the week.

The review of the Scottish Diet Action Plan 9 highlighted that progress in some areas was slow and that the dietary targets are not being achieved as the level of change defined by these targets had underestimated the impact of inequalities to achieve population level impact.

We still believe that the underlying principles and goals established in the Scottish Diet Action Plan remain valid and that the failure to progress as quickly as hoped on dietary targets is not sufficient reason to change the overall thrust of the strategy. However, given the current dietary targets are time-limited (up to 2010), we are currently considering a more pragmatic approach of adopting a set of longer term dietary goals which we will use to underpin our diet policy initiatives. The existing dietary targets are shown in Table 5.

Table 5: Scottish Diet Action Plan - Dietary Targets

Fruit & Vegetables

Average intake to double to more than 400g per day


Intake to increase by 45% from present daily intake of 106g, mainly using wholemeal and brown breads

Breakfast Cereals

Average intake to double from the present intake of 17g per day


Average intake of total fat to reduce from 40.7% to no more than 35% of food energy

Average intake of saturated fatty acids to reduce from 16.6% to no more than 11% of food energy


Average intake to reduce from 163mmol per day to 100mmol per day


Average intake of NME sugars in adults not to increase

Average intake of NME sugars in children to reduce by half i.e. to less than 10% of total energy


See breakout box on page 27

Total Complex Carbohydrates

Increase average non-sugar carbohydrates intake by 25% from 124g per day, through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, bread, breakfast cereals, rice and pasta and through an increase of 25% in potato consumption


White fish consumption to be maintained at current levels

Oil rich fish consumption to double from 44g to 88g per week

The National Performance Framework sets out the Government's overall purpose of sustainable economic growth, supported by national outcomes and national indicators for the whole of the public sector in Scotland for the first time. The framework includes a target for local authorities and their Community Planning Partners to contribute to reducing the rate of increase in the proportion of children with their Body Mass Index outwith a healthy range by 2018.

We will support Community Planning Partners with evidence about the contributions they can most usefully make to achieving this, both separately and acting together.

Within this target, and contributing to it NHS Health Boards will be expected to deliver healthy weight intervention programmes to a specified proportion of overweight and obese children between 5 and 15 years old by 2010/11.

Further details of the child healthy weight intervention programme are provided at section 5.2

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