Obesity is the second-biggest preventable cause of cancer, behind only smoking, and is linked to around 2,200 cases of cancer a year in Scotland. Being overweight and obese is also the most significant risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, and can result in increased risk of other conditions including cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
Recognising the specific need to tackle weight-related issues at an early stage, this delivery plan also has an ambition to halve child obesity in Scotland by 2030. We are also aiming to significantly reduce health inequalities.
We are committed to policy and action which is grounded in the evidence.
Reformulation of products to reduce risks of public health harm
The Scottish Government welcomes the steps taken by Public Health England to encourage larger companies to reformulate their products.
- Action 2.13: A dedicated Reformulation Connector will be embedded within the Make Innovation Happen Programme to link companies to existing support, such as academic through the Scottish Funding Council and wider business support through the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership
- Action 2.14: The Scottish Government will lead a Ministerial summit in late 2018, to raise awareness of the commercial benefits and costs associated with reformulating. The summit will feature new research from Food and Drink Federation Scotland who will revisit companies that have already reformulated products, and fresh market insights from the Make Innovation Happen Insights Programme.
Fiscal measures that encourage healthier choices
The Soft Drinks Industry Levy has led to a welcome price differentiation between drinks subject to the levy and those that are not, providing consumers with an economic driver to make healthier choices.
- Action 2.17: The Scottish Government urges the UK Government to extend the Soft Drinks Industry Levy to include sugary milk-based drinks, including dissolvable powders containing less than 95% milk, if these drinks do not meet their 20% PHE Reformulation Programme sugar reduction target by 2020.
- Action 2.18: The Scottish Government urges the UK Government to take appropriate action if it becomes clear that industry will not meet the PHE reformulation targets set for both sugar and calorie reduction.
- Action 2.19: The Scottish Government urges the UK Government to further use the tax system to make healthy food cheaper and to reduce the purchase of HFSS foods, and to devolve the necessary competences to the Scottish Parliament in this area to ensure a fuller range of levels are open for consideration.