Obesity and Diabetes

First Minister's Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:59 am on 28th October 2010.

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Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat 11:59 am, 28th October 2010

To ask the First Minister what preventative action the Scottish Government is taking to tackle obesity and address increasing rates of diabetes. (S3F-2647)

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

Scotland has experienced a rise in obesity and diabetes. Reversing that trend is probably the single most effective way of reducing the incidence of diabetes. We have set out how we intend to tackle that over the longer term, and the route map was published in February. More recently, we have also published our diabetes action plan, which aims, among other things, to minimise the impact of the disease on those who already suffer from it.

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

I am grateful to the First Minister for that reply. I sit on the Health and Sport Committee, and I am well aware of the plan to reduce the impact of diabetes. My question was more directly about the specific steps that the Government wants to take to try and stop the onset of type 2 diabetes. I wish to press the First Minister on that aspect.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

As I have said, plans were published over the past few months on coping with the effects of diabetes, and there is also the action plan to tackle the onset of diabetes. We have invested £12 million in a range of programmes over the past three years to tackle obesity, including the counterweight weight management programme, child healthy weight intervention and support for the national health service targets. The action plan has been spread out in eight healthy weight pathfinder communities.

As Ross Finnie will well appreciate, we are dealing with something that will take a considerable time to tackle, and with trends that will take a considerable time to reverse. He will welcome, as I do, the most recent evidence, which shows a substantial change for the better in dietary attitudes among children in Scotland, as well as the activity figures for seven-year-olds in Scotland, which show a substantial rise—and they are better than those in any other country of the United Kingdom.

As regards the long term and the future, I am sure that Ross Finnie would be the first to acknowledge that we can at last see some significant signs that give us hope.

Photo of Hugh O'Donnell Hugh O'Donnell Liberal Democrat

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. In the course of your deliberations with regard to the Official Report , will you consider the abusive use of medical terms and disparaging terms in relation to people with mental health issues, which are bandied about in the chamber as a means of disparaging colleagues?

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

I have already intimated that that will be the case.

Meeting suspended until 14:15.

On resuming—