Scotland has amongst the highest rates of obesity in the developed world. This has a profound impact on health, quality of life and demand on our health services. A range of actions are needed to make it easier for people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, including changes to the environment people live in, and to ensure that when people seek help they receive the best possible support.
Today we published new standards for tier 2 and 3 weight management services for children, young people and adults across Scotland, which will improve the quality of that support. These standards are part of the co-ordinated action being taken by the Scottish Government and partners to reduce the prevalence of obesity and the associated health inequalities.
The standards are intended to ensure a more consistent, equitable and evidence-based approach to the treatment of overweight and obesity across Scotland. They were co-produced by an expert reference group following consideration of the best available evidence, as well as learning from good practice across Scotland. The standards cover how services are designed; how individuals are referred, assessed and supported through interventions; the skills and training staff require; and how the standards will be monitored and evaluated.
The standards are endorsed by both the British Dietetic Association and British Psychological Society.
Suzanne Connolly PhD, Senior Health Improvement Officer at NHS Health Scotland, said:
“Levels of obesity are strongly associated with the circumstances in which people live. This means there are substantial inequalities in the risk of overweight and obesity between people living in our wealthiest and poorest areas.
“All NHS health boards in Scotland have weight management services for children, young people and adults. Most offer a range of preventative and treatment services to empower and support people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
“The standards for the delivery of weight management services published today aim to ensure that no matter where in Scotland you live, you can access the same high quality weight management support”.
Commenting on the introduction of the standards for weight management services for children and young people in particular, Cath Morrison, Child Healthy Weight Programme Manager at NHS Lothian, said:
“We welcome the introduction of the Child Healthy Weight Minimum Standards for Scotland. We know that being above a healthy weight in childhood can put children at risk of long term health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and poor mental wellbeing.
“By adopting these standards to support children and families to work towards a healthy weight, we can reduce the likelihood of these conditions developing in later life.
“A range of population-wide interventions to change the environment and reduce inequalities are crucial measures, in conjunction with the standards, to improve the health and wellbeing of children in Scotland.”
You can find more information on our diet and healthy weight pages.