Portion Sizes Targeted As Watchdog Unveils Health Diet Recommendations

A strategy to make food eaten outside of the home more healthy and smaller portion sizes are among the recommendations made by a watchdog to help improve the Scottish diet.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) made the suggestions a year after introducing measures to tackle the country's love of unhealthy foods.

The new recommendations also call for regulation of the food environment, an increase in healthier options, calorie labelling on menus and regulation of the promotion of unhealthy foods and drinks.

The FSS said it recognised the need for support and assistance for smaller food businesses.

The proposals come against a backdrop of increasing awareness of Scotland's poor diet and the potential health consequences it brings.

About 61% of Scots say they know they need to do something to eat more healthily, with the figure up 10% in a year.

FSS chairman Ross Finnie said: ''There has been some concrete progress over the past year from Food Standards Scotland, government and industry to address the deep-seated problems with Scotland's diet, and there have been some positive steps in the right direction.

''However, given we've been missing our dietary goals in Scotland since these were first set more than 20 years ago, it's clear that moves towards improving Scotland's diet need to be more rapid, more robust and more effective.

''The food environment outside of the home has a vital role to play in helping people in Scotland have access to the information and options they need to make healthier choices and Food Standards Scotland has proposed an additional set of recommendations designed to deliver just that.

''The cost of obesity to the Scottish economy is estimated at £2.37 billion per year. Food Standards Scotland will continue to work to drive progress in all sectors, including out of home.

''In our view, regulation would create a level playing field for industry and without it we face the very real prospect of increasing diet-related ill health and unsustainable burdens on the NHS and our economy.''

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