Sport and Commonwealth Games Minister Shona Robison told MSPs one of the next big health challenges for Scotland was obesity, as the country's levels of obesity were the third worst amongst OECD countries behind the USA and Mexico.
Ms Robison was leading a debate entitled "Meeting the Challenge, Physical Activity and its Contribution to Tackling Obesity", on 17 May 2012.
She said physical inactivity was one of our major health challenges and contributed to nearly 2,500 deaths each year in Scotland alone.
The sport minister highlighted progress that was being made in increasing activity in Scotland and announced the government would be maintaining the physical activity budget at £3.3m per year for the next 3 years.
She also announced the development of a National Walking Strategy, setting out an aspiration to ensure the support and infrastructure is in place to maximise the opportunities for everyone to walk.
Scottish Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson welcomed the news Scotland was "bucking the trend" by increasing activity levels but said the government had a long way to go in delivering its pledge of 2 hrs of P.E per week or even reaching its "watered down commitment".
Nanette Milne, the public health and sport spokesperson for the Scottish Conservative party said she was "extremely disappointed" the commitment had not been met.
Green MSP Alison Johstone said we must implement the national plan on obesity, and national and local government must work together to achieve targets like that of 10% trips being taken by bike by 2020 and having a minimum two hours of P.E each week for school children.
The Scottish government and COSLA launched a long-term obesity prevention strategy called
'Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland: A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight'
in February 2010.
The strategy identified four key areas:
• Reducing demand for and consumption of excessive amounts of high calorie foods and drinks
• Increasing opportunities for uptake of walking, cycling and other physical activity
• Establishing life-long healthy habits in children
• Increasing the responsibility of organisations for the health and wellbeing of their employees.
On 17 March 2011 the Scottish government published the
'Obesity Route Map Action Plan'