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BPS calls for combined approach on childhood obesity in Scotland

06 March 2018

Scotland's children and young people are being brought up in an environment which is harmful to both their physical and mental health.

Our response to the Scottish Government's consultation on diet and obesity highlights the environmental and structural challenges facing Scotland's youth population.

Children living with obesity are more likely to suffer from lower educational attainment, emotional stress and "a range of behaviours associated with poor health outcomes" due to weight based stigma and teasing.

Scotland's education system and parents should be better equipped to establish healthy life choices and behaviours from an early age.

A move to using the terms 'core' and 'non-core' food would help shift public perceptions of foods which should be regarded as treats and aid new parents to navigate the complicated field of infant nutrition.

Our response makes the case for a "biopsychosocial approach" which recognises the importance and effect of genetic, psychological, and social factors which influence our weight and health.

Such an approach could be achieved through a mix of actions on price promotions, labelling, supporting lower income groups and professional health interventions.

Ross Shearer, clinical psychologist and member of the Obesity Taskforce, said:

"It is widely recognised that obesity levels are catastrophically high in Scotland for both adults and children, it is a probelm which needs a whole system approach rather than the lacklustre piecemeal attempts made to tackle this epidemic so far.

Parties across the political spectrum at Holyrood have already voiced support for widespread and radical action on obesity; it now comes the time for the Scottish Government to deliver a Diet and Obesity strategy bold enough to make a difference to our next generation".

 

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