Scotland must act on ‘deep-rooted’ poor diet: report

By Alice Foster contact

- Last updated on GMT

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) published a report on diet today (December 9)
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) published a report on diet today (December 9)

Related tags: Nutrition

Scotland’s poor diet is not improving and urgent action must be taken to stop obesity from being the norm, according to a report from the country’s food body.

The consumption of fatty, sugary and calorific foods has led to “stubbornly” ​high levels of diabetes, heart disease and other obesity-related illnesses, the Food Standards Scotland (FSS) report found.

Food manufacturers, retailers and individuals must face up to the consequences of the nation’s deep-rooted poor diet which has not changed significantly for 15 years, it said.

‘Resistance to change’  

FSS report – at a glance

  • Little progress over the past 15 years 
  • 65% of population are overweight or obese
  • Half a million at huge risk of developing type 2 diabetes 

FSS chief executive officer Geoff Ogle said: “We need to recognise the problem: there is still resistance to change but everyone, including consumers, the food and drink industry, media and government has a part to play in the solution.”​ 

The FSS Situation Report, called the Scottish Diet: It Needs To Change, was released today (December 9) and recommendations will also be made to government ministers. 

FSS has suggested revised Scottish Dietary Goals: to reduce sugar to 5% of total energy, increase fibre to 30 per day and maintain carbohydrate at 50% of energy. 

Condemning future generations to a population that is overweight and obese should not be the legacy of our generation,”​ the report concluded.   

‘We must change’​ 

“We must change if we are to be a healthy and successful nation.” 

FSS called for changes to price promotions in stores because unhealthy foods, such as sugary drinks, cakes and sweets, were too frequently on offer. 

About three quarters of Scottish people say their diet is healthy even though 65% of the population are either overweight or obese, it noted.  

Poor diets were found to include too many discretionary​ ​foods, which were often seen as treats but had lots of calories and little nutritional value.

FSS chairman Ross Finnie said: “The Scottish diet is not improving and the problem of diet-related ill-health is now spanning the generations.”

“There is a disconnect between the scale of the problem and how healthy people believe their diet to be.

"We all need to recognise there is a problem and everyone including consumers, the food and drink industry, retailers, media and government has a part to play in finding a solution”

What Scottish Food and Drink Federation (SFDF) says:

“There is no question that obesity is one of the biggest challenges facing public health in Scotland and the UK, if not the biggest.

Significant reductions have been achieved, such as the 7% and 8% reduction in calories and sugars respectively in soft drinks delivered by companies over the last three years. 

​In Scotland, 50 smaller food companies were helped to reduce calories, salt and saturates in their products via SFDF’s reformulation programme, funded by the Scottish government.

“UK food and drink businesses remain committed to helping our customers achieve better, more balanced diets.”

  • David Thomson, ceo, Scottish Food and Drink Federation (SFDF)

Related topics: Obesity

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