Tackling Obesity

Background

The prevalence of overweight and obesity in Scotland is high, and the underlying trend is increasing.

In 2014, 65% of adults were overweight, including 28% who were obese. This has a significant impact on a person’s health and puts pressure on the NHS. The last obesity policy update was ‘Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland: A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight’(ORM) in February 2010. This Route Map focusses on prevention of obesity.

The Scottish Public Health Network (ScotPHN) had undertaken a Review ORM (Nov 2015) on behalf of the Scottish Public Health Obesity Special Interest Group. They concluded that “it is likely that Scotland will see the development of some new policies and strategies as a result of this review” and noted various areas where the ORM was lacking.

The Scottish Government’s Route Map for obesity has “pillars” focusing on childhood and adult obesity. Obesity in adults is addressed through workplace activity. Critically ScotPHN notes that this results in missing certain population groups e.g. adults not in employment.

In 2013, 64% of adults in Scotland met the new moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) guidelines according to the Scottish Health Survey. This is an increase of two percentage points compared to 2012. The percentage drops significantly from 34 years of age onwards. (Further details of active legacy indicators). In 2014 the majority of the adult population, from the 25-34 age group were overweight including obese, with levels rising to 77-78% of those aged 55-74. Around a third of people aged 45-74 were obese.

Approach

Letter to Scottish Government requesting update on whether new policies will be brought forward. Two oral evidence sessions – Roundtable with stakeholders and then panel with Scottish Government, including the legacy team.

On 15 July the Convener wrote to the Minister for Public Health seeking an indication of any proposals to update current policy.

On 12 August the Minister for Public Health responded to the Convenor: