This morning the Scottish Government announced that it would not be taking forward the Restricting Food Promotions Bill (see here).
This Bill would have helped tackle the ubiquitous promotion of foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt.
In responding to the announcement Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead of Obesity Action Scotland said:
“This is disappointing news. While I understand that the food environment in Scotland has changed radically during the pandemic it has also become increasingly clear that people with obesity have had much worse outcomes from Covid-19, with an increased risk of being admitted to intensive care and of dying. If we want to secure the health, resilience and longevity of the people of Scotland then tackling overweight and obesity must be a priority. Obesity Action Scotland called on Scottish Government to redouble its efforts to tackle obesity in the recovery phase and this step will hold up progress. I would urge the Scottish Government to re-introduce this measure as soon as possible.
The most effective way to prevent obesity is to improve the food environment including restricting promotions on unhealthy foods and restricting the wider advertising and marketing of these products. Whilst the industry has stepped up to the mark in the supply and distribution of food during this pandemic they need to show the same leadership and responsibility in keeping our population healthy by stopping promotions of unhealthy foods and promoting healthy options.”
For more information on the impact of promotion of foods high in fat, sugar and/or salt on obesity, please see our 'Obesity and Promotions' briefing. Please see our 'Obesity and COVID-19' briefing for an overview of the evidence linking obesity to increased severity of COVID-19.