Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and food spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, is urging the Scottish Government to fund a campaign to tackle the unhealthy food pupils eat outside school at lunchtime.
Ministers have today (3 June) published a long overdue report called Beyond the School Gate, which sets out a variety of ways retailers, caterers and local authorities could promote healthier options.
In the report it is shown that supermarkets are amongst the most popular lunchtime outlets for children.
Alison Johnstone MSP said:
“There are some excellent examples of schools redesigning cafeterias so they are attractive to young people, or bringing in catering vans that offer more balanced lunches. But given the dominance of supermarkets it is disappointing that what has been published today only ‘invites’ retailers to ‘consider’ what they might do.
“I want to see local communities, schools and food outlets given real support to improve the health of young people, and that requires funding and political will rather than voluntary schemes that can be ignored. We need a culture shift so that it becomes the norm for teenagers to eat tasty, balanced meals in good surroundings.
“Graeme Souness, the former Scotland football captain, was right when he said we are storing up problems for further down the line. Investing in healthy food for our children now will ease the pressure on the NHS budget in the future.”
Souness said easy access to meals high in fat, sugar and salt was taking its toll on the nation’s health and might affect future sporting potential (Herald):
Beyond the School Gate (Scottish Government):