The impact of COVID-19 on diet of Scottish families

05 April 2022

Article: 56/1312

On 28 March 2022, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) published a situation report which found that, since the COVID-19 pandemic, around one-third (34%) of parents in Scotland reported their own diet has become less healthy, with 17% describing that their child’s diet was also negatively affected. The findings also highlight further evidence linking the impact the pandemic has had on the nation’s health, especially those living in Scotland’s most deprived areas, with 70% of Scottish adults being overweight or obese.

The publication of the report comes as new Scottish Health Survey data revealed nearly 40% of people say their weight has increased since March 2020, with issues such as EU exit and climate change, as well as COVID-19, being linked to eating habits.

The report has revealed that 88% of adults in Scotland understand that an unhealthy diet can lead to poor health. From March 2020, with more time spent at home, snacking increased by over 30%. Trips to takeaways also doubled largely due to the restrictions on the out of home (OOH) market which includes restaurants, cafes and pubs. Additionally the report finds that discretionary products, such as cakes, biscuits, pastries, savoury snacks, sugary drinks and drinks containing alcohol, represent a high proportion of food purchased, particularly within households in the most deprived areas of Scotland.

FSS’s findings echo those of Obesity Action Scotland, which also launched two publications on the state of the nation’s health, who report that people living with overweight and obesity were at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, alongside a heightened risk of other health conditions, such as diabetes and cancer

FSS recently launched their Eat Well, Your Way resource and campaign, aimed at encouraging people to make simple changes in helping improve their diet, by offering a variety of straightforward steps and useful advice, as well as helping those shopping on a tight budget, and consumers who are more sustainability conscious.

Source: FSS, 28 March 2022