Scottish obesity plan is coming, and junk food ads are the target

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will publish a national obesity plan during the 2017-18 session of parliament, and it’s increasingly likely she will take a much tougher stance on junk food than her Westminster counterparts.

“I can announce that we will take forward a new strategy to tackle obesity, including measures to restrict the marketing of foods high in fat, sugar or salt,” Sturgeon said this month, as she announced her programme for government.

The programme promised “bold new initiatives to reduce obesity”, which will “match past actions on smoking and alcohol”.

Indeed, a clampdown on junk food marketing is expected. Some reports suggest that a ban on outdoor advertising is on the cards. Multi-buy promotions for unhealthy food could also be restricted.

The Scottish Government is also likely to push for a ban on junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed on TV. Scotland’s health minister Aileen Campbell supports the move; last year she demanded that the UK government rethinks its position on the policy or devolves the necessary powers to Holyrood.

The UK childhood obesity plan, published in August 2016, was heavily criticised for a failure to launch any new regulations to limit the marketing of foods high in fat, salt or sugar to children.

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