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Physical activity should start in pre-school, says report by Scottish Tories

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A new healthy living strategy, which aims to combat health inequality, has been set out by the Scottish Conservative Party.

Ensuring physical activity starts at pre-school in Scotland was among the top line recommendations in the report.

The strategy also encourages the implementation of physical activity and nutritional learning more prominently in schools.

According to the report – which was compiled in collaboration with SportsAid Scotland, Scottish Athletics and Youth Link Scotland, among other organisations – there is a 12-year gap in life expectancy between those living in the wealthiest parts of Scotland, and those in the poorest.

Life expectancy in Scotland is, on average, two years less than England.

“The health gap in Scotland is far too wide, and we need to do more to improve the wellbeing of Scots,” said Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson.

“There’s an enormous body of evidence which proves that an active lifestyle can make an enormous difference to a person’s physical health, mental health and ability to learn.”

Davidson – who once famously criticised Jamie Oliver’s calls for a sugar tax, which was implemented by the government last year – said that she hoped the the report would “kick-start the debate on health and wellbeing in Scotland”.

During an interview with the Daily Mail last year, Davidson said: “I was watching Jamie Oliver and thinking, ‘You rocket-munching millionaire, telling people they’re not allowed to have a Curly Wurly’.

“The libertarian in me was like, ‘Actually, sod off, just sod off. If folk want a Twirl, let them have a Twirl’.”

The government has claimed that the expected £520m (US$633m, €594.2m) that will be generated by the tax on sugary drinks will go towards physical activity and sport in schools across the UK.

Brian Whittle, health education spokesperson for the Scottish Tories, said there had been a “lack of joined up thinking when it comes to health”.

“By focusing on the early years, we can give the next generation a chance to grow up in an education system where physical activity and healthy eating are the norms.”

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A new healthy living strategy, which aims to combat health inequality, has been set out by the Scottish Conservative Party.
Davidson (centre) said the strategy would start a debate about health inequality in Scotland / Jane Barlow/PA Wire/PA Images
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