Leader comment: How Japan can help Scotland kick junk food habit

Northumberland County Council is among those taking steps to limit new hot-food takeaways via its Local Plan.
Northumberland County Council is among those taking steps to limit new hot-food takeaways via its Local Plan.
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Given that about two-thirds of the population are either overweight or obese, one might think that health food shops would be all the rage.

Instead, over the past eight years, Scotland has witnessed an explosion in fast food outlets – many of them selling what is perhaps more usefully described as “junk food”, high in calories but low in nutrients.

The Scottish Government has been taking commendable steps in an attempt to persuade us all to eat a healthier diet. But, by this measure at least, its recent efforts have not been successful.

Not all fast food is bad for you, but most of it is. And genuine knowledge about how to eat healthily involves being able to cook properly.

READ MORE: Stephen Jardine: Obesity crisis requires nanny state to be strict

Home economics is taught in our schools but is perhaps not accorded the status it deserves, given the life-or-death importance of the food we eat. And at lunchtime, all too many children head to the nearest chip shop.

Scotland might do well to take a leaf out of Japan’s book. Children there are among the healthiest in the world; and they also routinely make their own meals with school lunches seen as “a part of education, not a break from it”.

READ MORE: Dr Anne Ellaway: Weighty problem of schoolkids’ diet not helped by fast food at lunchtime