Research and innovation

Survey to explore Scottish children’s diets

Thousands of children and young people across Scotland are to be asked about their eating and drinking habits as part of a new study.

Young boy making their sandwich for lunch at a dining table as young girl watches in background

The survey will provide the first snapshot in more than a decade of what food and drink children and young people consume across the country.

Experts hope the poll will capture how habits in what and where young people eat have changed in the past decade.  

Information gathered from the survey will be used to support improvement of children’s health across the nation, researchers say.

Taking part

The Dietary Intake in Scotland’s Children (DISH) survey will be sent to around 17,000 children and young people aged between 2 and 15.

Those randomly selected to take part will receive a purple envelope in the post inviting them to complete an online questionnaire about what they eat and drink. Parents or carers of younger children will be asked to complete the survey on their behalf.

We want to include lots of different families across the whole of Scotland, so we are encouraging people to look out for a purple envelope and take part in the survey.

Professor Lindsay JaacksProject Lead at the University of Edinburgh

Shaping policy

The findings, due to be published later in 2024, will help to shape policy and advice on diet and support the Scottish Government’s ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030, experts say.

The survey is being carried out by the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems at the University of Edinburgh and Taylor McKenzie on behalf of Food Standards Scotland.

What surrounds us, shapes us and in Scotland we are surrounded by less healthy food and drink options. This makes it challenging for families in Scotland to eat well.

Dr Fiona ComrieSenior Public Health Nutrition Adviser at Food Standards Scotland

Improving our children’s health by ensuring everyone can get affordable, healthy food has never been more important. This survey will help Food Standards Scotland and others identify where the issues are that need to be addressed to improve our children’s health.

Professor Linda BauldChief Social Policy Advisor to the Scottish Government who is lending her support to the study

Related links

Dietary Intake in Scotland’s Children (DISH)

Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems

Food Standards Scotland

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