Ministers outline junk food promotions ban proposal

The campaign will try to help reduce obesity in Scotland. Picture: Peter Barr/Geograph
The campaign will try to help reduce obesity in Scotland. Picture: Peter Barr/Geograph
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The Scottish Government plans to bring in bans on junk food promotions to help tackle the country’s obesity problem.

Restrictions would apply to multi-buy deals such as buy one get one free, purchase reward where incentives such as a toy or loyalty points are offered, unlimited refills, upselling, checkout displays, coupons and free samples.

Food proposed to be covered by the ban includes items high in sugar, fat and salt such as sweets, biscuits, crisps, cakes and sugary soft drinks.

Ministers plan to seek views on whether or not to include ice cream and dairy desserts.

A consultation is scheduled for autumn on detailed plans for the ban and will also examine a prohibition on the sale of energy drinks to under-16s.

Further measures to reduce obesity in Scotland were published in the new Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan.

These include creating a code of practice with local authorities, transport companies and media agencies next year to restrict junk food advertising on sites such as bus shelters, stations and inside buses and trains.

The government will also call on the Advertising Standards Agency to remove these types of adverts from a 800m radius of any site where a quarter of visitors are under-16s, including schools.

The new strategy also focuses on children and early years, proposing to consult on a pre-conception action plan to encourage women to start pregnancy at a health weight.

Further actions include training health professionals by 2020 to refer children and families to parenting support, cooking classes and child health weight programmes if needed.

As part of the pledge to almost double funded childcare by 2020, children involved in the scheme will be given a free meal and milk at nursery.

Public health minister Joe Fitzpatrick said: “Far too many people in Scotland face serious risks to their health linked to poor diet and unhealthy weight.

“This is unacceptable and it’s largely avoidable. Scotland has a proud history of taking decisive action on public health and this is the next step in that journey, turning our attention to the nation’s diet and weight.

“Giving children the best possible start in life is one of this government’s key priorities. We’ve pledged to halve childhood obesity by 2030 and that ambition is at the heart of our delivery plan.”

He added: “But this is not just about children; two-thirds of adults in Scotland are overweight and I want everyone, across all sectors including government, citizens, the public and third sectors and businesses to play their part in achieving our bold vision to significantly reduce health inequalities.

“A key part of that will be the world-leading measures we’ve set out to transform the food environment to support healthier choices.”