Sturgeon recruited by global health task force

Nicola Sturgeon has been appointed to a prestigious global task force set up by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg to tackle "preventable" diseases like alcoholism and obesity.

Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland's work in public health is well-renowned
Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland's work in public health is well-renowned

The group brings together global leaders to address the "enormous and growing health and economic burden" of such illnesses land how they can be tackled through Government action.

Other task force members include Tabaré Vázquez, President of Uruguay, Mauricio Cardenas, Colombian Minister of Finance and Helen Clark, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand. It will be co-chaired by eminent US economist Larry Summers and Mr Bloomberg.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

It has been created by Mr Bloomberg, one of the world's richest men with a $46bn dollar fortune, in his role as World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases.

“Scotland’s work in the sphere of public health is world-renowned," MS Sturgeon said today.

"I look forward to contributing to this group. As part of our public health work, we have often collaborated with other nations and experts across the world, to learn from their approaches and to pass on our learning. My experience of this dialogue is that it is both beneficial to Scotland and the nations we have been in discussion with.”

Among the illness being examined by the group are heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes and how these can be tackled through Government intervention.

The Scottish Government recently won a five year court battle with the drinks industry to push ahead with minimum pricing for alcohol. The country also led the way in the UK by banning smoking in enclosed public places.

Ministers are also currently consulting on a new obesity strategy, which includes proposals to restrict promotions of unhealthy food and drink.

Mr Bloomberg said: “There’s substantial evidence that taxes and fiscal policies are essential to confronting this health threat. This Task Force will explore which policies can make the biggest difference and help them spread, saving millions of lives.”