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Last Updated: Monday, 11 September 2006, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Diet action plan targets 'missed'
fish supper
Scots still consume too many fatty acids and not enough fruit
The Scottish Executive has failed to meet a series of targets to improve Scotland's diet, two reports have said.

The studies, by the Food Standards Agency and an independent panel of experts, focus on the 1996 Scottish Diet Action Plan.

They said that in some areas Scots were consuming even more of the wrong types of food than 10 years ago.

Health Minister Andy Kerr said some progress had been made and he was proud of groundbreaking policies on health.

Dietary targets

The plan of 71 recommendations to improve the diet of Scottish people was drawn up in 1996 by the then Scottish Office.

The aim was to reduce the amount of diet related ill-health and death in the population, and the targets were adopted by the newly-devolved executive in 1999.

The two new reports show that, 10 years on, although there have been some areas of success the dietary targets set for 2005 were "overwhelmingly not being achieved".

It is clear that changing what Scots eat is a challenging task
Professor Tim Lang
Chair of the Scottish Diet Action Review Panel

Daily consumption of fruit and vegetables remains at just over half of the target of 400 grams a day.

Scots still consume too many fatty acids and not enough oily fish or breakfast cereals.

In some areas progress has even gone backwards, with more sugar being eaten than ever before, fewer potatoes and 25% less brown or wholemeal bread.

Professor Tim Lang, chair of the Scottish Diet Action Review Panel, said: "There have been some major successes, including the improvement of food in schools and increased breastfeeding rates.

"However, it is clear that changing what Scots eat is a challenging task, requiring a stronger focus on a few key priorities and increasing the scale of what is done."

diet
Dietary targets for 2005 were 'overwhelmingly not being achieved'

The panel's report concludes that resources and initiatives were spread too thinly.

It said that while the executive tried to work with the food industry, the changing nature of the food retailing and powerful advertising of unhealthy foods undermined those efforts.

The publication of the review came on the same day that plans to ban schools from serving junk food and sugary drinks were put forward by the executive.

Mr Kerr said the reports recognised progress had been made.

He said: "There has been little progress towards achieving the Scottish dietary targets set in 1996 for the intake of key food groups and nutrients.

"But Scotland is not alone - many other European countries are also finding it a very tough challenge to meet these targets.

"I am proud of the groundbreaking policies on food and health that have been introduced in Scotland, particularly since devolution."

Health problems

The SNP's health spokeswoman Shona Robison said it was "extremely worrying" that there had been little improvement in uptake in fruit and vegetables.

She said: "Mr McConnell's administration has failed to tackle the fundamental causes of poor diet - poverty and deprivation.

"An SNP government would introduce annual fitness checks for school pupils - to help monitor progress and identify health problems at an early stage."

Scottish Greens health spokesperson, Eleanor Scott, called for a "rethink of how we see food".

She said: "I think all kids should get cookery in school, not 'food science' which just makes them think, like some ministers do, that it's safer to make food in a lab than a kitchen - it isn't!"




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
See which targets have been missed



SEE ALSO
Junk food ban in Scottish schools
11 Sep 06 |  Scotland
Scottish life expectancy improves
05 Sep 06 |  Scotland
Glasgow's bad health 'inherited'
09 May 06 |  Glasgow and West
Anti-junk food push 'a success'
29 Dec 05 |  Scotland

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