Child obesity problem requires urgent action say Greens

A report published today revealing that almost a quarter of children in primary one are at risk of being overweight, must force the Scottish Government to develop a culture of healthy food and easy access to active play and physical activity in Scotland say the Scottish Greens.

The ISD Scotland report highlights that 22 per cent of children in primary one are either at risk of obesity (10 per cent) or at risk of overweight (12 per cent). It also details how in Scotland’s least deprived areas 81 per cent of children were classified as healthy weight, compared to 73 per cent in the most deprived areas. [1]

Lothian MSP, and Scottish Greens’ health spokesperson, Alison Johnstone said:

“It’s gravely concerning that so many children in Scotland will begin primary school at risk of being overweight. It’s a stark reminder of the inequality that exists in our society, because it’s no coincidence that there is a link between a family’s wealth and their children’s health.

“We already know that obese children are around five times more likely to become obese adults and the condition is linked to cancers including bowel, breast and pancreatic. The cost of obesity to the NHS in Scotland is already estimated at £600 million a year.

“There are immediate steps the Scottish Government can take to remedy this, like increasing and improving physical education at school, but fundamentally we have to improve living standards for many of the poorest in our society, a task that will require more than just the health secretary to be involved in. We need to develop a healthy food culture that sees restrictions in place on junk food being sold near schools and the better marketing of healthy food alternatives.”