The growing obesity rates in several countries has led to stricter rules and regulations on the sales of foods high in sugar content. Carbonated drinks, high-calorie fast foods and processed foods have been prohibited in many countries.
Scotland is also facing similar problems in increasing the consumption of healthy, fiber-rich foods and reducing the consumption of sugary foods. It has formed a new regulatory body called Food Standards Scotland (FSS) to monitor the dietary levels in the country.
FSS has recommended tougher targets for healthy eating after finding "little or no progress" over the past 15 years. It has reported that 65% of the Scottish population are either overweight or obese and about half a million people in Scotland are at a risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
There is a need to reduce the consumption of "discretionary" food and drink, which have lots of calories and little nutritional value. The current intake of food energy from sugar is 14.4%, the FSS said.
FSS chair Ross Finnie said, "The Scottish diet is not improving and the problem of diet-related ill-health is now spanning the generations. There is a disconnect between the scale of the problem and how healthy people believe their diet to be. We all need to recognize there is a problem and everyone including consumers, the food and drink industry, retailers, media and government has a part to play in finding a solution."
Public health minister Maureen Watt said, "We recognize that there are issues with the Scottish diet and that many of these are long-standing, however there are some indications of progress in recent years, for instance a reduction in the purchase of sugary drinks. We are working to ensure that everyone in Scotland has the opportunity, ability and confidence to access a healthy diet for themselves and their family."