Strain on waistbands will strain NHS

I've warned that Scotland is losing the battle of the bulge as new figures revealed waist sizes in Scotland are increasing and two thirds of adults are overweight.

The latest Scottish Health Survey showed that:

  • Waist circumferences were higher on average in 2014/2015 than in 2003 for both men (98.2 cm in 2014/2015 and 95.3cm in 2003) and women (89.5 cm in 2014/2015, 86.3 cm in 2003).
  • The proportion of men with a raised waist circumference (greater than 102cm) increased from 28% in 2003 to 37% in 2014/2015. The proportion of women with a raised waist circumference (greater than 88cm) increased from 39% to 52% over the same period.
  • Around two-thirds of all women (66%) and three in five men (59%) had an increased risk of disease based on their Body Mass Index and waist circumference.
  • Only 21% of adults and 12% of kids ate 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Without action, Scotland’s NHS will face significant additional pressures.

The performance of our Olympians and Paralympians should inspire people right across the country to get healthy and these figures suggest that this will not come before time.

At the moment, Scotland is losing the battle of the bulge.              

It is not just waistbands that are under huge strain. Increases in the sort of diseases associated with being overweight put huge pressure on NHS services. Helping people shed excess weight will make a big difference to their personal health.

It will also ensure doctors have the time they need to treat as many patients as possible.

We know that waiting time targets are being missed on a weekly basis. 

We need to ensure that people are getting all the information they need to take healthy choices. That means promoting balanced diets and helping people get involved in sport and exercise.

Unless we take action now our health service will suffer.

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