Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland: A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight

Scotland's obesity strategy.


3.1 We are aiming for the majority of Scotland's population to be in a normal weight range ( i.e. most with BMI 18.5-25) throughout adult life thus avoiding the adverse consequences of overweight/obesity. By achieving this aim we will impact on our economic purpose, through impacting on healthy life expectancy and a number of national outcomes, including:

  • Our children have the best start in life and are ready to succeed
  • We live longer, healthier lives
  • We have tackled significant inequalities in Scottish society
  • We have improved the life chances for children, young people and families at risk

3.2 Furthermore, as a result of the actions we will take to tackle obesity we will impact on other national outcomes, including:

  • We live in well designed, sustainable places where we are able to access the amenities and services we need
  • We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others
  • We value and enjoy our built and natural environment and protect it and enhance it for future generations
  • We reduce the local and global environmental impact of our consumption and production

3.3 The achievement of such an ultimate aim can be broken down into three areas for action:

  • Prevention of weight gain in both those of normal weight and those currently overweight through changes in our culture and environment
  • Reduction in weight in those currently overweight and obese
  • Prevention of adverse complications in those who are currently obese

3.4 This Route Map is directly concerned with the first of these areas. Our actions to prevent weight gain in both those of normal weight and those currently overweight will contribute some part in supporting weight reduction in those individuals that are currently overweight and obese but this alone will not be sufficient. Management of overweight and obesity and complications in those who are already obese will be addressed within NHSScotland (see section 7).

3.5 This is a long term aim and will take many years to achieve due to the scale of the action required; the Foresight report suggests that even a highly successful multi-faceted approach may be associated with a time lag of 20-30 years. What is clear is that we must start to act now, using the best available evidence and advice, without waiting for experimental evidence for preventative measures and recognising that there will be challenges to all sectors of society.


3.6 We have already identified a national indicator to ' reduce the rate of increase in the proportion of children with their Body Mass Index outwith a healthy range by 2018'. To highlight our commitment to this issue we will work towards developing a further indicator which will cover the whole population. Additionally, we will identify a series of milestones that must be met if we are to achieve our aim.

3.7 Alongside these indicators we already have a number of goals and targets relevant to achieving our aim ( Appendix 4), which identify desirable behavioural changes in terms of diet and physical activity which will contribute to reducing the prevalence of obesity in Scotland. These are important but not enough to address the issues we face.

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