Speaking ahead of a Scottish Parliament debate on diet healthy eating, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today called for an expansion of “social prescribing", including enabling doctors to prescribe free access to exercise programmes if they judge it will help the health and wellbeing of an individual.
- Research from Robert Gordon, Abertay and Newcastle universities suggests little progress has been made in improving the diet of Scots over the past 15 years.
- Households in the most deprived areas of the country eat significantly less fruit and vegetables, oil-rich fish and fibre than those in the wealthiest areas.
- Almost a quarter of children starting Primary 1 are at risk of obesity or of being overweight and 9 out of 10 children do not do enough exercise every day.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
"Rather than seek to gloss over these challenges, the Scottish Government need to recognise that we have made little progress in tackling poor diets and sedentary lifestyles.
"The national obesity epidemic already puts a huge strain on our NHS. Unless we take action now we are sitting on obesity time bomb that will only increase pressure on services.
“Active lifestyles help improve quality of life in later years, reduce mental health risks and increase health and employability.
“That’s why Scottish Liberal Democrats would invest in sport and promote healthy lifestyles as well as extend the rights of GPs to social prescribing, including free access to exercise programmes if they judge it will help the health and wellbeing of an individual.”