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Many of the changes in people’s diets reported in 2020, such as ordering takeout and eating out of boredom, have continued in 2021, according to a survey by Obesity Action Scotland (OAS).

The OAS, which is funded by the Scottish Government and hosted by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow, also found that more than half of people on low incomes or on furlough thought their weight had increased since the first lockdown .

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A separate parent survey carried out by Ipsos Scotland on behalf of the OAS found that 44% believed they had gained weight since 2020 and 14% felt the same about their child.

Scots ate more takeaways in 2021 than in 2020, according to Obesity Action Scotland

The OAS said this corroborated the most recent figures from Public Health Scotland on the BMI of children in Primary 1, which showed a significant increase in the rate of children at risk of obesity and overweight.

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Lorraine Tulloch, Program Manager for Obesity Action Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to halving childhood obesity by 2030. However, we are headed in the completely wrong direction.

“All the signs are that pandemic control measures have made things worse for children’s weights, for families’ diets, and for health inequalities across a range of conditions.”

She added: “We urgently need bold, effective, progressive and sustained action across governments, communities and the places where we buy and consume food to get us back on track to tackle this. significant problem.

“Many parents recognize that their own weight has increased. This, alongside evidence of a worrying increase in the number of primary 1 children at risk of obesity, makes it clear that families need support to be able to prevent unhealthy weight gain.

A separate Food Standards Scotland (FSS) report also published on Monday found that 34% of parents said their diets had become less healthy during the pandemic, while 17% said their children’s had.

FSS said Brexit and climate change have also increased diets over the past two years.

Dr Gillian Purdon, Head of Nutrition Science and Policy at FSS, said: “It has been a difficult two years and we continue to navigate the uncertain economic and social consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and wider global issues.

“During this time, many of us have changed the way we eat. This latest report found that 88% of adults in Scotland understand that poor nutrition can lead to poor health.

“As of March 2020, with more time spent at home, snacks increased by more than 30%. Trips to takeaways have also doubled largely due to restrictions in the out-of-home market, which includes restaurants, cafes and pubs.

Obesity Action Scotland has carried out two surveys of Scots on eating habits during the Covid pandemic – one in May 2020 and another in March 2021.

Ipsos surveyed over 1,000 parents and guardians in November last year.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Tackling obesity remains a public health priority to ensure Scotland is a place where we eat well, have a healthy weight and are physically active.

“Our Healthy Weights and Eating Plan sets out ambitious, far-reaching actions to meet this challenge, including our goal to halve childhood obesity by 2030.”

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