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With recent news and community initiatives highlighting the severity of obesity in Scotland, new measures proposed by the Scottish government aim to combat childhood obesity.
 
The official consultation contains five questions and hopes to amend regulations in schools to encourage healthier eating. With conflicting reactions to the consultation and its effectiveness, read more to discover what it contains and what the changes could look like if accepted.

Combatting childhood obesity

Behind America, Scotland is classed as the second most obese nation globally. When you consider the difference in population and geographical size, this is cause for concern. One in six boys and one in seven girls are classified as obese, and the government is dramatically trying to reduce these numbers.

Health minister Aileen Campbell described the consultation as "bold measures, designed to help people make healthier choices, empower personal change and show real leadership."

The economic impact

Despite multiple attempts in recent years to reduce obesity, the problem continues. The NHS statistics from 2017 showed that nearly a quarter of Scottish 5-year-olds are at risk. Obesity has commonly been linked to Type 2 Diabetes, premature heart attacks, and health service strain. The consultation aims to boost the counter-obesity efforts and put more onus within schools and communities to enforce change.

The big questions

The consultation aims to gather public opinion before being reviewed and amended. The questions are broken into subsections and discuss the proposed measures in detail. The topics include:

  • What are your views on our intention to amend the current school food and drink regulations to ensure children and young people can access more fruit and vegetables as part of their school day?
  • What are your views on our intention to amend the current school food and drink regulations to reduce the number of sugar children and young people can access over the school day?
  • What are your views on our intention to amend the school food and drink regulations to set a maximum for red and processed meat in primary school lunches and overall provision in secondary schools?
  • What are your views on our intention to amend the school food and drink regulations to enable caterers to provide a service that better supports secondary age pupils to make balanced and nutritious food and drink choices as part of their school day?
  • Do you have anything else you wish to comment on concerning the nutritional content of food and beverages provided in local authority and grant-maintained schools in Scotland via the School Food and Drink Regulations?

Is the focus in schools misplaced?

Suggestions highlight that enforcing these changes alone will not be successful, with recent conversations across Scotland and the UK. Other external factors may play a more significant role in Scotland's younger generation's lifestyle and diet choices. For example, London Mayor Sadiq Khan discussed imposing a ban on readily available fast food outlets within proximity to schools.

Have your say

The consultation will close on the 29th of August 2018, and then responses will be collated. If you have any knowledge, thoughts or opinions on the new Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in School's proposed amendments, submit your views via the Scottish Government website.

Cashless catering and obesity

The cashless catering system was created to reduce queue times and speed up meal services but has transformed into an intelligent management information system. The reporting functionality gives valuable insights and analysis on pupil purchasing behaviour and nutritional values within the food. Using this data may be influential when schools are responding to the consultation.

To find out more about the consultation, read the full document. To learn more about CRB Cunninghams Cashless catering systems, call us on 0333 014 3065. We have provided education software to Scottish schools for over 50 years, working closely with Local Authorities offering cashless catering, biometrics recognition, identity management software, online payments and much more.