Two thirds of Scots now obese or overweight, finds Scottish Health Survey

Written by Tom Freeman on 20 September 2016 in News

Scottish Government criticised for figures showing health indicators have remained static while obesity rate is "shocking"

Obesity - PA

Two thirds of Scottish adults were overweight or obese in 2015, according to the latest health statistics.

The Scottish Health Survey, published today, shows 36 per cent of adults were overweight, and 29 per cent were obese, while 13 per cent of children were overweight and 15 per cent were obese.

There is a slight increase in the number of children at a healthy weight, while a third of adults and a quarter of children do not get enough physical exercise.

Only a fifth of adults eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables.


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Public health expert Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK's cancer prevention expert based at the University of Stirling, said the figures were “shocking” as it increases the risk of children developing cancer later in life.

“This is a huge worry for the health of the nation,” she said.

“If left unchecked, obesity will lead to a rising tide in ill-health, including cancers, and become a crippling burden on the NHS. The Scottish Government must take steps to protect youngsters from being bombarded by junk food marketing on TV, as well as the barrage of supermarket multi-buy offers on sugar and fat-laden food and drinks.”

The survey also revealed an increase in the levels of reported anxiety in adults, and an increase in the number of young adults reporting mental health problems.

Opposition MSPs said there had been no improvements to the indicators since the SNP came to power.

Scottish Conservative sport spokesman Brian Whittle said:  “There is one very clear message from this report – the SNP has failed on health.

“It has been in sole charge of the brief for almost 10 years now, and in that time its initiatives, announcements and education programmes have failed.”

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Anas Sarwar said: “We still face the same challenges in obesity, alcohol and smoking as we did ten years ago with little progress.

“We also know that if you come from a poorer background you are more likely to be in poorer health. That is why we need to tackle the root causes of inequality in our communities and that includes stopping the cuts to vital public services that impact most on the poorest and most vulnerable in our society."
Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said the Scottish Government recognised many health indicators have remained static.

“This government is committed to bringing forward new strategies for obesity, mental health, oral health and alcohol. We also remain committed to introducing minimum unit pricing to tackle the damage which high strength, low cost alcohol causes in our communities,” she said.

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