Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume has urged the Scottish Government to move fast to prevent and treat obesity in Scotland after new figures published today estimated that the total economic costs of obesity to Scotland could be as high as £4.6bn each year.
A report published by the Scottish Parliament’s independent research unit SPICe found that international comparisons indicate that Scotland has above average levels of adult overweight and obesity. The SNP Government has been repeatedly condemned for failing to meet its 2007 manifesto pledge for all primary school children to benefit from at least two hours of PE each week, and secondary school children in S1-S4 from 100 minutes each week.
With one in three children at risk of being overweight or obese and one in three adults in Scotland thought to be obese, the knock-on health and social costs estimated at £4.6bn for Scotland include direct health costs and the loss of productivity.
Mr Hume said:
“The Scottish Government must move fast to tackle Scotland’s £4.6bn obesity crisis. It is upsetting that so many children are considered overweight or obese before they even set foot in a Primary School. Prevention is key which is why Liberal Democrats are proud to have introduced free school meals for all P1-P3 pupils. This provides children with a healthy meal and encourages healthy living from a young age.
“The SNP government is still failing to meet its 2007 manifesto pledge on PE provision. Only 33 percent of S4 pupils in East Lothian are receiving 100 minutes of PE a week and in primary schools, only 86 percent of pupils in West Lothian are receiving the SNP’s pledged amount. Obesity comes at great cost to the individual, their families and society. Scottish ministers must do more if we are to have a fighting chance of tackling this crisis.”