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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Fitness test plan to beat obesity
Children's meal
The executive wants to encourage good diet and exercise
Plans to give school children annual fitness checks have been unveiled by Nationalists as part of a proposal to tackle childhood obesity.

The SNP also wants wider entitlement to free healthy school meals and for provision to be trialled for all pupils in the first three years of school.

The idea comes as a childhood obesity conference began in Edinburgh.

Deputy Health Minister Tom McCabe said everyone has a part to play in fighting the "health time bomb".

Under the Scottish National Party's proposals, measures - including fitness checks - would be paid for with 80m a year from the executive's health and education department budgets.

The plans will go before the SNP's national conference in September.

Parents and families can make big and lasting changes to the health of their children
Tom McCabe
Deputy Health Minister
Mr McCabe was speaking prior to the start of Monday's conference.

He called on parents and relatives to help the Scottish Executive fight obesity in Scotland.

The deputy health minister said: "Government has a key role to play in improving health by providing support, encouragement and opportunity for everyone in Scotland to lead healthier lives, but we can all do something as parents, relatives and individuals.

"Scotland is not alone in experiencing a rapid rise in obesity. It has been on the increase in virtually all developed countries over the last two decades.

'Lasting changes'

"We cannot, and are not sitting back and doing nothing to stop this health time bomb."

Mr McCabe added: "It's down to all of us to make sure that children can have fun and be healthy.

"By taking simple steps such as playing with their kids or walking them to school and choosing carefully what the family eats, parents and families can make big and lasting changes to the health of their children."

More than one in five of Scotland's pre-school children are overweight, according to NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (QIS).

The QIS figures, published in December, also revealed that by the age of 12, almost one in five Scots children were clinically obese.


SEE ALSO:
Childhood obesity plea to parents
06 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Drive to fight obesity criticised
05 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Fat Scots youngsters targeted
29 Dec 03  |  Scotland
Scots youth among world's fattest
30 Nov 03  |  Scotland
Scots obesity bill 'tops 170m'
11 Jun 03  |  Scotland


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