Johnstone: Scorecard from Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health shows urgent action required

Alison Johnstone MSP, Health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said today's (23 Jan) "scorecard" from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health on the state of child health in Scotland shows urgent action in required from government to tackle obesity, poverty and poor mental health.

Alison said:

"There is much more we can do to make sure that our health services tackle inequalities, and that our social security system gives families the support they need. That’s why I’ve been calling for a £5 top-up to child benefit, and have been working to secure better financial advice and assistance for families, helping them to boost their incomes and receive the benefits they are entitled to. 
"In Scotland, we have seen the level of child poverty rise as social security support has been cut and benefits frozen. My amendments to the Social Security Bill will ensure that the value of devolved benefits keep up with the cost of living, and that people applying for support have the right to be considered for all the benefits they may be entitled to.
"As well as investing in crucial anti-poverty measures, there are other strategic steps the Government and local authorities could take to improve the environment our children grow up in.  In London, fast-food takeaways will be banned from opening within 400 metres of schools, in order to tackle the proliferation of unhealthy food outlets aimed at young people.   We need equally serious action across Scotland, and a robust diet and obesity strategy which finds ways of making healthy, fresh food more accessible and affordable to everyone."

Alison added:

"2018 is the Year of the Young Person, and we must take this opportunity to make sure that our healthcare services and social security system meet the needs of children and young people. The State of Child Health report demonstrated that Scotland faces significant challenges in terms of childhood obesity, low levels of breastfeeding, and exposure to alcohol and tobacco.  We also know that the number of children and young people experiencing mental health problems and emotional difficulties continues to rise.  Deprivation can have an impact on all of these factors, which are so important to young people’s long term health."