Alison Johnstone MSP, Health and Wellbeing spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today highlighted figures showing a continued rise in the proportion of the Scottish population affected by type 2 diabetes, which leads to foot ulcers and blindness and increases the risk of heart disease.
The Scottish Diabetes Survey shows that at the end of 2014, there were 244,050 people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, including over 16,000 diagnoses in the last year and almost 84,000 in the last four years.
Analysis by the Scottish Greens shows that the proportion of the population affected by type 2 diabetes has risen steadily, from 4.4 per cent in 2009 to 4.7 in 2011, 4.9 in 2012, 5 per cent in 2013 and 5.2 in 2014.
Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, said:
"The steady increase in diabetes in our population is a huge cause for concern and underlines the need for a proper plan of action and preventative health spending. We know that type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity, poor diet and low levels of physical activity and we know that the condition is more common in deprived areas, so we must do more to help those groups most at risk.
"The cost to the NHS each year from dealing with obesity-related illness such as diabetes is estimated at around £223 million. By investing in walking and cycling infrastructure and local healthy eating projects, by encouraging employers to pay a real living wage, and by challenging big commercial food and drink businesses, we can begin to tackle this serious situation.
"The Scottish Government's efforts to date have been ineffective marketing campaigns. There's a lack of dedicated funding and no real targets have been set. Green MSPs have consistently pushed for investment in walking and cycling, and called for a Healthy Challenge Fund to support local health projects. Scotland can start to slow what is a very worrying trend if we prioritise preventative health spending."
Obesity Indicators including prevalence of type 2 diabetes
Scottish Government's "Take Life On" national social marketing campaign aims to tackle illnesses such as type 2 diabetes. Its "Offers To Get You Off The Couch" section only contains one suggestion - LaserStation
Scottish Parliament briefing on obesity showing dedicated funds have not been set aside and exact dates are not given for achieving desired outcomes