Physical Activity, Diet and Healthy Weight

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 15th November 2018.

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Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

I draw attention to my declaration in the register of members’ interests of my position as chair of the Hibernian Community Foundation, which I intend to mention later.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the debate. We have heard lots of statistics from all speakers to illustrate the seriousness of the problem that we have with activity, diet and obesity. David Stewart told us that 65 per cent of adults in Scotland are defined as being overweight. That means that being overweight in Scotland is now the norm. Almost one third of adults are classified as being obese. That tells us that Stewart Stevenson is not the norm, but we probably knew that before we started.

It is important to recognise, as speakers have mentioned and the Scottish Government’s research shows, that issues relating to unhealthy and unbalanced diets often begin in childhood. The 2016 Scottish health survey revealed that 29 per cent of children in Scotland were at risk of being overweight and 14 per cent were at risk of obesity. In primary school, during those formative early years of education, it is crucial that we teach children the benefits of both physical exercise and maintaining a balanced diet.