Plan to tackle obesity crisis unlikely to succeed unless ministers toughen up approach to big business

The latest government plan to tackle Scotland's obesity crisis is unlikely to succeed unless ministers toughen up their approach to profit-driven big food businesses and retailers, according to Scottish Greens health spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP.

Today's 37-page "Diet & Healthy Weight Delivery Plan" has the aim of halving childhood obesity by 2030. 

Measures include:

*£1m over two years to support children experiencing food insecurity during school holidays.
*A consultation later this year on restricting the promotion and marketing of certain high-fat/sugar/salt foods.
*A consultation on an "Out of Home" strategy to encourage food outlets to provide calorie information to customers.
*A review of Scottish Planning Policy to take into account issues such as how food outlets near schools can be better controlled.

Scottish Greens health spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP said:

"Obesity in Scotland is a public health crisis, affecting one in four adults and almost one in five children. We're at greater risk of death from diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Our obesity rates are amongst the highest in the world, and are largely caused by obesogenic environments, where we find it difficult to be active and easy to eat too much energy-dense food.

"Tackling these obesogenic environments is key, so any plan from government must tackle big business head-on, as profit-driven food manufacturers and retailers have too much influence over the choice - or lack of - in our communities. Sadly, the government's plan is still focused on encouragement and future consultations when we urgently need bold action. It's also a worry that this plan says nothing about the Good Food Nation Bill that the SNP promised over two years ago in their election manifesto.

"And as well as making nutritious food the easy and affordable option, we must tackle inactivity. With transport now a full Cabinet post, I expect the new Transport Secretary to work closely with the new Health Secretary to prioritise making our communities easier for everyday walking, cycling and running."