Recent studies are fueling concern in Scotland over the growing obesity epidemic–especially where children are concerned. In an inquiry submitted by Scottish Conservatives, startling figures reveal that hundreds of children have been referred to weight management programs in the last three years, more than half of which come exclusively from the Fife and Tayside areas. While obesity is a global issue, the data suggests that regional habits and accessibility to nutritious food may be cause for further consideration where public health is concerned.
A Childhood Obesity Epidemic
Developing healthy habits and an active lifestyle as children is a stepping stone to maintaining good health as we age. However, the Scottish government has been rocked by the data that resulted from a recent Freedom of Information inquiry regarding referrals to weight management. The results suggest that nearly ten children per week have been referred to weight management in the last three years.
Nearly 1,400 children in Tayside and Fife have received care for obesity, which is cause for great concern. Of course, adult referrals in this area are still far more numerous–with more than 1,400 in Fife and 3,400 in Tayside also receiving medical intervention for their weight control issues.1
Interventions by Scottish Healthcare
In Scotland, free gym passes are issued to those who struggle with controlling their weight – but professionals in this region agree that a fitness regime isn’t enough to keep this growing epidemic under control. Proper nutrition, focused on a whole-foods, low-sugar diet is also needed to ensure effective results.
While focused on the individual, making proper strides to combat obesity is also an issue of public health. The added expense of supporting obesity-related conditions is set to skyrocket in coming years–and it’s up to the Scottish government to intervene now before the financial burden grows out of control.
Combating Obesity in Public Health
Recognizing that the public health system will crack under the pressure of obesity-related conditions like diabetes and heart disease, the Scottish government has been working to create public health programs that support a healthy diet and exercise. In Tayside, children under 16 can access the Paediatric Overweight Service Tayside to receive free services to help them control their weight and develop lasting, healthy habits into adulthood, like walking, bike riding, and physical activities.
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