Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has called on the Scottish Government to help “foster healthy habits” among young people, after new statistics published today show that children from the poorest backgrounds are twice as likely as their better off peers to be “at risk of obesity”.
Official figures reveal that 12.9% of the ‘most deprived’ primary ones are at risk of obesity (BMI>=95th), compared to 6.5% of the ‘least deprived’ primary ones.
The gap between the most and least deprived in terms of obesity is widening, with the report concluding “there are now substantial inequalities in child unhealthy weight across Scotland”.
Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
“It's really worrying to learn that children’s backgrounds continue to have such a serious influence over their health. These statistics ought to ring alarm bells for ministers.
“Obesity can affect people’s quality of life and puts a huge strain on the NHS. Fostering healthy habits at a young age has real long term benefits for families and our health service.
“We need to ensure that every parent in Scotland has access to the support they need to give their child a healthy start in life. Scottish Liberal Democrats would invest in sport, support people to make informed choices and dodge junk food, as well as extend the rights of GPs to social prescribing, including free access to exercise programmes if they judge it will help a person’s health and wellbeing.”