How Amsterdam’s food culture is being transformed

It is one of the most significant public health challenges facing Scotland today.

Being overweight or obese is linked to a host of health issues that affect both quality of life and, in some cases, length of life.

These issues include poor cardiovascular health as well as the increased likelihood of strokes, diabetes and asthma.

Being overweight is also now the second biggest preventable of cancer after smoking.

A ScotPulse survey for STV News revealed on Wednesday that 60% of Scots would support a ban on junk food advertising in the evening.

It comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed a tenfold increase in global childhood obesity in the past 40 years.

“The burden of poor diet on Scotland is immense,” says Lorraine Tulloch, programme lead for Obesity Action Scotland.

She adds: “Poor diet across the UK is now the number one burden on the NHS.”

In the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, a radical, all-encompassing approach to tackle what city politicians have dubbed the “wicked problem of obesity” has reaped dividends.

Amsterdam: City implemented a radical healthy weight programme in 2012.


If there is one thing experts in the field can agree on, it is that the best way to tackle the issue head-on is to start trying to change people’s habits at a young age.

In Amsterdam, this has meant a comprehensive healthy weight programme targeting education, local communities and the family home, supermarkets and shops and even the advertising industry.

Facing a childhood obesity rate of one in five (21%) in 2012, Amsterdam officials demanded change – and got it.

Three years later, the city’s municipal government said the number of overweight children had fallen by 12%.

“What was interesting around the Amsterdam work was that they have…

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