This website is now part of Public Health Scotland. Publications released after 16 March 2020 are now published on the Public Health Scotland website.
Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

We welcome the consultation out today from the Scottish Government that seeks to address the public health harm from overweight and obesity, by tackling the promotion and marketing of the foods we need to eat less of. Approximately a third of the adult population in Scotland are obese and nearly another third are overweight. Being overweight or obese can mean a life in ill health, and ultimately, an early death. People who live in our poorest areas are more likely to be overweight and experience the most harm a result of it.

NHS Health Scotland published research in 2017 that shows that marketing and promotions usually make it cheaper to choose high fat, high sugar and high salt food and drinks and so they encourage us to eat more of the things we don’t need in our diet. Later this month we will look at the impact on purchasing of other types of promotions in places that sell food.

Laura Martin; Public Health Intelligence Advisor at NHS Health Scotland said:

“It is not fair that the majority of people in Scotland could get ill or die early because they are overweight or obese. It’s also not fair that people in our poorest areas are at more risk – where you live should not determine whether you live in ill health or die early. Our environment effects our health. That’s why we need to take action to ensure that our environment supports us to live long and healthy lives, by making the healthy choice, the easy choice.”

“Our evidence shows that promotions work against this. They encourage unplanned, impulsive purchases – usually on food that we should be eating less of – and this means we eat calories we don’t need. Placing restrictions on promotions and marketing of high fat, sugar and salt foods therefore has the potential to help make the healthier choice the easier choice. What’s more, our research on public attitudes to obesity shows that we should be confident in Scotland about taking such actions, safe in the knowledge that the majority of the public understand the need for and support them.”

To read our Rapid Evidence Review on Promotions, and our research on Public Attitudes to Reducing Overweight and Obesity, visit our obesity webpages.