Abstract: “After smoking, Scottish eating habits are the second most important cause of the nation’s poorhealth. The average Scottish diet is low in cereals, vegetables and fruit but high in confectionery,fatty meat products, sweet and salty snacks, cakes, and excessive amounts of sugary drinks andalcohol.
The diets of children are especially poor and until recently so have been school meals.Poor diet contributes ‘to a range of serious illnesses, which include coronary heart disease, certaincancers, strokes, osteoporosis and diabetes’.
In Scotland, more than 65% of men and 59% of women are overweight. This is also the case forchildren, with 35% of primary school pupils and around 65% of 11 to 12 year olds beingoverweight. More than 150,000 of the Scottish population have diabetes and this is likely to doubleover the next 10-15 years. Some half a million people are thought to have coronary heart disease.
The Hungry for Success campaign by the Scottish Executive has been successful in starting totackle health education and health promotion in schools. This was the first time in the UK thatnational nutrient-based standards for school lunches had been introduced and in the forthcomingSchools (nutrition and health promotion) (Scotland) Bill it is intended that these standards willreceive legal backing.
However, just as diet has health implications, food production, processing and consumption alsohave significant environmental impacts, and certain eating habits place unnecessary burdens on theenvironment.
This study seeks to explore the environmental burden, or Ecological Footprint, of Scotland’s dietand the implications of dietary recommendations for the environment.