BMA Scotland has called for tough action to halt the rise of obesity and the host of illnesses that come with it. The call came as the Scottish Government launched its obesity strategy ahead of a debate in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.
Figures published in December 2009 revealed that one in five children is overweight and one in ten of these is obese or severely obese.
Dr Dean Marshall, Chairman of the BMA's Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said:
"Obesity is a very serious issue that can lead to a number of life-threatening health problems. Doctors have a role to play in supporting overweight patients and talking about the dangers of obesity but there is a limit to what they can do. The BMA has been lobbying the government for some time to take real action on this issue in order to achieve a real improvement in the future health of our children."
In Scotland, over 40 people a day are diagnosed with diabetes, and most of these cases are Type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked with obesity. Increasing rates in childhood obesity will also lead to more future cases of heart disease, osteoarthritis and some cancers.
Dr Marshall added:
"Prevention is much better than cure. It is better, healthier and safer if children are given the tools to manage their weight, eat healthily and take more exercise. But no-one is saying this is easy. We are in danger of raising a generation of children burdened with long term chronic health conditions. It is vital that we take action now."
The BMA has produced a briefing paper for MSPs which calls for action in the following five areas:
(v) Education and information