Almost £600,000 has been set aside by the government in Scotland to fund projects working to prevent childhood obesity and reduce diet-related health inequalities in the country.
The funding is part of a commitment from the government to half the rate of childhood obesity in Scotland by 2030.
The projects that will receive funding include:
- NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s JumpStart Tots scheme, which will get £53,769. The project gives families and their children access to sessions where they will learn about healthy food, drink and snack ideas, cooking tips, menu planning support and ideas for active play
- NHS Lanarkshire’s ‘Little n Lively’ programme, created in partnership with Healthy Valleys, will receive £150,000. Targeted at families with children between 0-2 years, the programme offers families the chance to learn about how play, physical activity and eating well can benefit their children growing up
- NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde’s ‘Thrive Under Five’ programme will gain access to £305,448. The two-year pilot project aims to help children in their early years who live in several low-income neighbourhoods across the region, achieve a healthy weight by encouraging healthy eating, physical activity and reducing food insecurity. Participating families in the eligible areas receive advice on how to make their money go further, and gain access to free meal packs with recipes, local pantry vouchers, and any cooking utensils or fuel that they don’t have access to or cannot afford
- NHS Grampian’s the HENRY approach, which works to prevent child obesity in babies and children aged 0-5 as well as their families, will receive £17,028 to develop training and support for a group of multi-agency processionals across Aberdeenshire to help them deliver the project
- NHS Lothian and NHS Fife’s continued delivery of the HENRY core training to the early years workforce will receive £48,500 and £8,500 respectively
- NHS Lothian will get £10,000 to improve and increase weaning support in the region
The investment is one of a variety of actions being put forward since the government launched its Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan in 2018, which aims to help everyone in the country eat well and maintain a healthy weight.
The Scottish government estimates that it costs them between £363 million to £600 million a year to treat conditions associated with being overweight and obese. The figure rises to between £0.9 billion and £4.6 billion when labour market related costs such as lost productivity are taken into account.
Commenting on the investment, Maree Todd, Scotland’s Public Health Minister said in a statement: “These projects are crucial to our bold ambition to halve childhood obesity in Scotland by 2030. They tackle inequalities working with families and communities to encourage healthy eating and offering support for those experiencing food insecurity.
“We will continue to support local partners to develop these ambitious and effective plans to help prevent and reduce childhood obesity, alongside policies such as our Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan and Best Start Foods payment, which are central to our commitment to ensure everyone in Scotland has access to healthy, nutritious food.”