Public Health Scotland (PHS) has today (2 March) published a new guide to support those communicating about health and obesity in Scotland. The guide provides practical advice to build public understanding of obesity as a social issue and inspire support for solutions to enable everyone to thrive and be healthy in Scotland.

Created with not-for-profit research organisation FrameWorks UK, the guide will help people to communicate about the issue of obesity beyond individuals. In helping to tell a shared story about how environment and income shape us, it shows how we can collectively build understanding and support for the wider changes that will improve health, such as tackling poverty.

The communications guide has been launched today at a live online learning event for the public service workforce, delivered by FrameWorks UK, to learn how to frame obesity and change our national conversation. The event is part of a PHS programme of learning and practice improvement support in 2022-23 to strengthen contributions to tackling inequalities and improving the health and wellbeing of people in Scotland.

PHS Chief Executive Angela Leitch said:

"Where we live and what we earn play a role in our health. Unhealthy food is in the spotlight in many of Scotland’s high streets and workplaces, and often affordable, healthy options are not within reach. When people think about weight and obesity, it’s commonly seen as the fault of individuals and an insolvable part of modern life. The publication of our communications guide is an important step in addressing such misconceptions and one we need to build on.

"To deepen understanding and build confidence in how to adapt the guide’s recommendations for different areas of work, PHS will work with colleagues across the NHS, national and local government and third sector to help to embed this communications approach to obesity across Scotland.

"We need to reduce this stigma and build support for the wider changes needed to enable all of us to thrive and be healthy."

The launch of the communications guide builds on PHS’s dedicated learning hub to challenge weight stigma and comes before World Obesity Day on 4 March, when the theme is changing perspectives to end stigma, take collective action and transform health outcomes for everyone.

Read the guide Health first: communicating about health and obesity in Scotland

Additional information

Find out more about the PHS live online learning programme in our blog

Visit the Challenging weight stigma learning hub

Read about World Obesity Day 2023


Image credit: Impact on Urban Health

Last updated: 02 March 2023