Funding Support to Reduce Inequalities in Children’s Health

child£1.7million of extra funding has been awarded to Scotland’s Health Boards to continue their work on reducing childhood obesity.

Scotland along with many countries has a child obesity problem.

Globally, in 2016 the number of overweight children under the age of five, is estimated to be over 41 million. Almost half of all overweight children under 5 lived in Asia and one quarter lived in Africa. World Health Organisation

The Scottish Government has developed policies to take action and to support children to have a healthy weight.

All NHS Boards in Scotland provide a child health programme where children are offered routine reviews at various stages of their life.

Height and weight measurements are collected at the Primary 1 review and most NHS Boards record results on the child health school system (CHSP School).  The majority of NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and NHS Orkney do not record results from health reviews on the system.

Stats from the 2017/2018 School Year

  • In school year 2017/18, 76.5% of children measured in Primary 1 had a healthy weight, 22.4% were at risk of overweight or obesity and 1.1% were at risk of underweight
  • Since 2001/02, the overall proportion of Primary 1 children who are at risk of overweight or obesity has remained fairly constant.
  • Since 2001/02, the proportion of Primary 1 children at risk of overweight or obesity has increased in the most deprived areas but decreased in the least deprived areas. There are now substantial inequalities in child unhealthy weight across Scotland.
  • Boys in Primary 1 are less likely than girls to have a healthy weight.

The Scottish Government has declared that it will halve the rates of childhood obesity by 2030.

Senior Health Improvement Officer at NHS Health Scotland Suzanne Connolly PhD said:

“There is growing inequality in the prevalence of obesity between children in our wealthiest and poorest areas, and we have to address it.

“The standards published by NHS Health Scotland are designed to ensure that all children and young people in Scotland will receive the same high quality weight management support, informed by the best evidence available and good practice.”

The World Health Organisation consider childhood obesity as  ‘one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century’. WHO state:

Childhood obesity is mainly associated with unhealthy eating and low levels of physical activity, but the problem is linked not only to children’s behaviour but also, increasingly, to social and economic development and policies in the areas of agriculture, transport, urban planning, the environment, food processing, distribution and marketing, as well as education.

The problem is societal and therefore it demands a population-based multisectoral, multi-disciplinary, and culturally relevant approach.

The Scottish Government and COSLA (Convention of Local Authorities) have come together to work on ways to  improve the diet and health of Scots and in particular children.

They are working towards 5 key outcomes:

  • Children have the best start in life – they eat well and have a healthy weight
  • The food environment supports healthier choices
  • People have access to effective weight management services
  • Leaders across all sectors promote healthy weight and diet
  • Diet-related health inequalities are reduced

You can find out more about that here: A healthier future: Scotland’s diet and healthy weight delivery plan


Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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