Majority of Scots support tough action on obesity, finds survey

Written by Tom Freeman on 11 January 2018 in News

Scots 'underestimate their own weight' but support tough actions by government, according to report

Obesity - PA

The majority of Scots support tough action on obesity, according to analysis of Scotland's social attitudes survey by NHS Health Scotland.

However with two thirds of Scots overweight or obese, most don't recognise the dangers in themselves, the report concluded.

"large-scale systemic change" is needed, it said.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on a diet and obesity strategy which would include curbing advertising and promotion of junk food.

The vast majority of respondents (91 per cent) agreed fast food was too readily available, while 82 per cent said manufacturers should further cut the amount of sugar salt and fat in their products.

Support for taxation on sugary sweet drinks was high at 62 per cent, but only 47 per cent supported a tax on fatty foods.

Those living on low incomes were less aware of the health risks associated with being overweight or obese, which include heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and were also less supportive of actions to tackle the problem.

Deborah Shipton, Public Health Intelligence Advisor at NHS Health Scotland, and author of the report, said it provided "insight" into what actions might be needed.

"We can tailor interventions to get maximum benefit and we can feel confident about some of the bolder, societal level actions needed, safe in the knowledge that the majority of the public understand the need for and support them," she said.

"Taken together with the evidence of what works, today’s report brings us closer to making sure that the places we live, work, play, learn and shop help us make healthy choices and maintain a healthy weight, so that we can improve health, reduce health inequalities across Scotland."

New stats from NHS Scotland's ISD show almost a quarter of primary one children are now at risk of being overweight or obese.

Public health minister Aileen Campbell said: "We're currently consulting on an ambitious plan designed to help people make healthier choices, empower personal change and show real leadership.

"As with our groundbreaking strategies on alcohol and tobacco, this is the start of a progressive plan of action, learning from our experience in Scotland and further afield, that will make a real, lasting difference to the country's health."

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