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Childhood obesity statistics

12/12/2005

Statistics released today show that one in five 11 and 12 year olds were obese in Scotland last year.

The figures show the Body Mass Index (BMI) of children up to the 2004-05 school year and show levels are higher for children living in deprived areas.

Deputy Minister for Health, Lewis Macdonald said:

"These new statistics show that one in five 11 to 12 year olds in Scotland were obese in the 2004-05 school year. This carries huge health implications for them in later life.

"Scotland is not alone in experiencing a rapid rise in obesity in the last two decades, all developed countries are experiencing a similar trend, but we do want to be in the forefront in tackling it.

"We have introduced nutritional standards for school meals through our Hungry for Success strategy and these are accepted as the best in the UK. We now provide free fruit in primary 1 and 2 and we are helping to ensure that children have access to a wide range of physical activity - both in and out of school. We have also announced plans to remove high sugar drinks from schools and are looking at this in wider settings too.

"Also worrying is the fact these statistics show obesity levels are higher for children living in deprived areas. Tackling health inequalities is a top priority for us. We want the way healthcare is delivered to change. In the future it will be much more preventative, community-based and targeted at people at risk of ill health, such as those living in deprived areas.

"We must change Scotland's poor choices and that is why we are working with retailers, manufacturers, schools, local authorities, the NHS, the voluntary sector and others to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Changing to a healthier lifestyle will not happen for many families overnight, but we are committed to tackle this issue in the long-term."

The Executive has provided record levels of investment for health improvement (£173 million in Spending Review 2002 and £243 million in Spending Review 2004).

The Prevention 2010 programme will be piloted initially in five Community Health Partnerships covering areas of high deprivation: Glasgow (two pilots), Tayside, Lothian and Lanarkshire. Staff will identify, contact and offer health checks and risk assessment to adults who are most at risk. This programme will be extended in 2007, learning what works best before roll out across Scotland.

Counterweight, a primary care-led weight management programme will also be rolled out across Scotland, after initial pilots in the deprived areas identified for Prevention 2010.