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Friday, 26 October, 2001, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Scots told to battle the bulge
Overweight person
Scots obesity is costing the NHS billions
Scotland's health and fitness industry is making a bid to tackle the country's growing problem with obesity.

It is currently estimated that heart disease, poor diet and lack of exercise will cost the NHS in Scotland around 16bn over the next 10 years - the same amount earmarked for fighting cancer.

In an effort to help Scots literally tighten their belts, the British Heart Foundation and Sports Scotland have teamed up for a three-day health and fitness exhibition in Glasgow.

The Scottish Sport and Fitness Show at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) will showcase some of the country's top athletes and most extreme sports with the aim of ending the couch potato culture north of the border.

Scots will be urged to take exercise
The drive is being backed by health officials whose budgets are being stretched by Scotland's growing waistline.

Billions of pounds are already being spent treating illnesses that could have been avoided.

Current figures show that around one in five of all men and women in Scotland are officially classed as obese while many children are overweight by their third birthday.

The reason is simple - we are eating too many calories and not exercising enough.

The three-day exhibition at the SECC aims to tackle at least one of those factors.

Tom McQuade of the British Heart Foundation said: "We are very concerned by the children's' state of health and the general lack of exercise."

The Scottish Sport Health and Fitness Show will include skate parks, trampolining, dry skiing and a climbing wall.

Organisers hope that by offering varied and attractive options they can encourage more Scots to get fit and at the same time take the pain out of exercise.

Mary Wood of The Eating Problem Service said: "We live in a culture which says we have to have a certain body type.

"We are told that we need to look like super models and that is just not true. We should have a healthy diet and we should have a great variety of foods in our diet."

Eleanor Bradford reports
"Many children in Scotland are overweight by their third birthday"
See also:

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07 Feb 01 | Health
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27 Feb 00 | Scotland
Patients at risk claim
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