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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 November, 2004, 06:36 GMT
Scots eating up healthy message
Fruit stall
More people are eating five portions of fruit and vegetables each day
Healthy eating messages are getting across to people in Scotland, according to a report.

The NHS Health Scotland study said 59% of the population know they should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day - three times the 1996 figure.

A growing number of those questioned also thought they could influence their own risk of getting killer diseases like cancer and heart disease.

But only 40% of Scots were meeting the weekly target for exercise.

It is recommended that people should have 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.

Alcohol limit

The study found that people tended to over-estimate the amount of exercise needed to keep healthy.

There was also confusion over drink levels, with a third of adults unaware of the recommended weekly alcohol limit.

The annual Health Education Population Survey (HEPS), which began in 1996, monitors the impact of health education and communications activities in Scotland.

These new figures give us grounds for optimism - people in Scotland do want a healthier life for themselves and their families
Andy Kerr
Health Minister
The 2003 study pointed to a continuing gap between the health prospects of those in the country's richest and poorest communities.

However, NHS Health Scotland said there were signs of a cultural shift away from the Rab C Nesbitt stereotype of the fatalistic Scot with no interest in his health.

The number of people who felt they could influence their own health had risen by 3% to 79% over the last seven years.

Some 94% of adults believe they can reduce their risk of getting cancer, while 80% thought they could reduce the risk of getting coronary heart disease and HIV.

Three quarters of regular smokers said they wanted to cut down or quit.

Visiting the dentist

The number of people who are putting advice about eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day into practice rose by 10% to 30% in 2003.

The number of mothers breastfeeding has risen from 55% in 1996 to 63% in 2003, and there has also been an increase in the number of adults visiting the dentist.

Health Minister Andy Kerr said: "These new figures give us grounds for optimism - people in Scotland do want a healthier life for themselves and their families.

"Some messages are certainly getting across and there are now high levels of motivation and knowledge in most health areas.

"While not every statistic is good news, both the positive and the negative will inform future policy on how best to direct future communication."


SEE ALSO:
Scots smoking ban details set out
10 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Fall in heart and stroke deaths
29 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Scots urged to 'hide salt cellar'
13 Sep 04 |  Scotland
Heart disease a 'huge challenge'
17 May 04 |  Scotland
Scots grow more health conscious
24 Feb 04 |  Scotland


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