In the Chamber: Physical Activity, Diet and Healthy Weight.

David’s summing – up speech in the Scottish Parliament debate
Physical Activity, Diet and Healthy Weight
15 November 2018
As other members have said, this has been an excellent debate with well-argued contributions from across the chamber.
There was a strong consensual spirit in the debate, which is why Labour will support the Scottish Government’s motion and all the amendments.
I note that my spirit of co-operation has not been reciprocated by a couple of parties, but I believe that we should support sinners who repent.
As we have heard, more than a quarter of adults in Scotland are obese, and the Labour amendment particularly emphasises the health inequalities element.
Members will be aware that being obese can increase the risk of individuals developing many potentially serious health conditions including type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer.
The key point is that the risk of obesity varies across Scotland, with obesity being seen in 21 per cent of women who live in affluent areas compared with 37 per cent of women who live in deprived areas.
Iain Gray flagged up the key point in our amendment that holiday hunger for schoolchildren is a scandal that cannot be allowed to continue.
The successful club 365 programme in North Lanarkshire feeds children who qualify for free school meals throughout the holidays.
I hope that the relevant minister will confirm in their wind-up speech whether that can be rolled out across the country.
During the debate, Brian Whittle made sensible points about the need to look after the health of healthcare workers.
That is extremely important.
Not least, we should consider the flu vaccine proportions in each health board area.
Brian Whittle also talked about the important role of third sector organisations, and I think that we all agree with his point about using the school estate better for sporting activities after hours, which seems very sensible.
Alison Johnstone made strong points about health inequality.
I agree with her general point that we should increase the walking and cycling budget.
That would be a sensible development.
Alex Cole-Hamilton made a good speech, in which he made a key point about the great challenge that we face, because being overweight is the second most important avoidable cause of cancer.
He, too, stressed the importance of active travel and talked about the links with poverty and social isolation.
Bruce Crawford made a good speech too.
He is a fantastic advocate for his Stirling constituency.
I flag up the important daily mile initiative, which originated in a school in his area.
I was astounded to learn that 3,500 schools across the world have copied that excellent initiative.
Liz Smith said that one of the first debates in which she became involved in the Parliament was the debate about free school meals.
I strongly agree with her about the importance of locally sourced food and making learning about nutrition part of educational activity.
Stewart Stevenson always takes a wide historical sweep.
He did not answer my question about his role in the Boer war, but I am sure that I will find out about that at some stage.
He made an interesting point about the ending of sugar rationing and the relatively low incidence of diabetes during the war, because people were consuming less fat and sugar.
Iain Gray, whom I have already mentioned, talked about the active schools programme.
As a fellow football fan—although I do not support his team—I am interested in what Hibernian Community Foundation is doing, and I will raise the matter with my colleagues at Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club when I see them—I hope at the weekend.
I agree with what Emma Harper said about the fixing dad programme.
I saw a presentation on the programme at a cross-party group meeting. I would like the Scottish Government to support the roll-out of a strong element of social prescribing across the piece.
John Mason made good points about the important levers that the Parliament has.
Given the important impact of the smoking ban on public health, parliamentarians should consider what other public health solutions we can develop, particularly in the context of public transport and preventative spend.
Time is short, so I must conclude. Health inequality is at the root of this debate.
Poverty, social deprivation and inequality are significant contributions to being overweight, and the least well-off are most at risk.
Why should someone’s postcode determine their life expectancy?
As Martin Luther King said:
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

David’s summing – up speech in the Scottish Parliament debate
Physical Activity, Diet and Healthy Weight
15 November 2018
As other members have said, this has been an excellent debate with well-argued contributions from across the chamber.
There was a strong consensual spirit in the debate, which is why Labour will support the Scottish Government’s motion and all the amendments.
I note that my spirit of co-operation has not been reciprocated by a couple of parties, but I believe that we should support sinners who repent.
As we have heard, more than a quarter of adults in Scotland are obese, and the Labour amendment particularly emphasises the health inequalities element.
Members will be aware that being obese can increase the risk of individuals developing many potentially serious health conditions including type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer.
The key point is that the risk of obesity varies across Scotland, with obesity being seen in 21 per cent of women who live in affluent areas compared with 37 per cent of women who live in deprived areas.
Iain Gray flagged up the key point in our amendment that holiday hunger for schoolchildren is a scandal that cannot be allowed to continue.
The successful club 365 programme in North Lanarkshire feeds children who qualify for free school meals throughout the holidays.
I hope that the relevant minister will confirm in their wind-up speech whether that can be rolled out across the country.
During the debate, Brian Whittle made sensible points about the need to look after the health of healthcare workers.
That is extremely important.
Not least, we should consider the flu vaccine proportions in each health board area.
Brian Whittle also talked about the important role of third sector organisations, and I think that we all agree with his point about using the school estate better for sporting activities after hours, which seems very sensible.
Alison Johnstone made strong points about health inequality.
I agree with her general point that we should increase the walking and cycling budget.
That would be a sensible development.
Alex Cole-Hamilton made a good speech, in which he made a key point about the great challenge that we face, because being overweight is the second most important avoidable cause of cancer.
He, too, stressed the importance of active travel and talked about the links with poverty and social isolation.
Bruce Crawford made a good speech too.
He is a fantastic advocate for his Stirling constituency.
I flag up the important daily mile initiative, which originated in a school in his area.
I was astounded to learn that 3,500 schools across the world have copied that excellent initiative.
Liz Smith said that one of the first debates in which she became involved in the Parliament was the debate about free school meals.
I strongly agree with her about the importance of locally sourced food and making learning about nutrition part of educational activity.
Stewart Stevenson always takes a wide historical sweep.
He did not answer my question about his role in the Boer war, but I am sure that I will find out about that at some stage.
He made an interesting point about the ending of sugar rationing and the relatively low incidence of diabetes during the war, because people were consuming less fat and sugar.
Iain Gray, whom I have already mentioned, talked about the active schools programme.
As a fellow football fan—although I do not support his team—I am interested in what Hibernian Community Foundation is doing, and I will raise the matter with my colleagues at Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club when I see them—I hope at the weekend.
I agree with what Emma Harper said about the fixing dad programme.
I saw a presentation on the programme at a cross-party group meeting. I would like the Scottish Government to support the roll-out of a strong element of social prescribing across the piece.
John Mason made good points about the important levers that the Parliament has.
Given the important impact of the smoking ban on public health, parliamentarians should consider what other public health solutions we can develop, particularly in the context of public transport and preventative spend.
Time is short, so I must conclude. Health inequality is at the root of this debate.
Poverty, social deprivation and inequality are significant contributions to being overweight, and the least well-off are most at risk.
Why should someone’s postcode determine their life expectancy?
As Martin Luther King said:
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”