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Scots urged to cut junk food levels in half

Food Standards Scotland said people in Scotland need to cut the amount of junk food they eat by at least half.

Scotland’s food watchdog has called for people in Scotland to cut consumption of junk food by more than half as it revealed national dietary goals have been missed.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) published an updated situation report for 2018 which highlighted that two out of three people are overweight or obese, including 29% of children.

One fifth of the calories and fats eaten in Scotland and half of sugar intake comes from junk food such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, pastries, crisps and sugary drinks.


FSS wants consumption of these foods to be cut by a least half and points out the average seven-year-old boy in Scotland will eat more than his body weight in junk food in a year.

The report found Scotland’s poor diet is “deep rooted” and dietary goals have been “consistently missed” for more than 17 years.

For those who drink, alcohol consumption contributes an estimated average 810 calories per week on average for women, rising to 1,100 for men.

The report found more than nine out of 10 people in Scotland (91%) think obesity is a serious problem across the country.

The percentage of people concerned about having an unhealthy diet has risen to 64% from 50% in 2015.

Around two thirds (66%) want cafes and restaurants to display calories on their menus while just under half (49%) would support banning promotions on unhealthy products.

A second FSS report shows “very little change” amount of calories, fats and sugar purchased in Scotland from 2010 to 2016 while salt has fallen by around 20%.

Calories have fallen 2.1% in the six years, with fat down 1.2%, saturated fat up 3.1%, sugar down 0.9%.

The amount of sugar purchased in soft drinks has fallen as diet drink sales have risen but this drop in sugar has been more than offset by increases in sugar purchase from other foods, including sweets, breakfast spreads and ice cream.

More than a third (36%) of calories in Scotland in 2016 were bought through cut price deals, down 3% from 2015 but these continue to be skewed towards less healthy categories.

FSS chief executive Geoff Ogle said: “These results are disappointing but unfortunately not unexpected.

“For diets to change we need to see price promotions rebalanced and shoppers encouraged to buy healthier foods with less sugar, fat and salt, by making these more affordable.”

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell added: “These reports provide yet more evidence that we must take a bold approach to tackling Scotland’s diet and obesity problem, which is why we are developing an ambitious and daring innovative strategy.”

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