Scottish government urged to act on obesity crisis report

By staff writers
18 Feb 2013

Food and nutrition campaigners are asking Scottish government ministers to tackle the obesity crisis by acting upon the latest recommendations of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

The proposals, drawn up by experts including physicians and surgeons in Scotland, include piloting a sugary drinks tax, making calorie information easier to understand, and encouraging active travel.

Alison Johnstone, MSP for Lothian and food spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, commented: "The Scottish Government does have a so-called Obesity Route Map but it is far from ambitious. Ministers would do well to heed the advice of the medical experts, and commit to proper timescales and funding."

"For example, I recently asked ministers what they are doing to encourage retailers to stock smaller portions of snack foods, as recommended in their Route Map published three years ago, and they've admitted they're still working on what voluntary action retailers could take. Our obesity problem will only get worse with such a lack of leadership."

Ms Johnstone added: "We are allowing commercial interests to worsen a health crisis that is costing us all a fortune. A quarter of all adult Scots are obese; a third of our children are overweight or obese; and the number of diabetes sufferers has rocketed from 60,000 to a quarter of a million in a decade.

"The need for clear, consistent food labelling has never been greater, and if the big retailers continue to drag their feet the government must step in."

The experts are right to highlight active travel, including cycling and walking, rather than over-reliance on cars, campaigners say.

* Read the full Academy of Medical Royal Colleges report:
http://www.aomrc.org.uk/about-us/news/item/doctors-unite-to-deliver-pres...

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