AS is so often the case in politics, an announcement made in the last week has been met with a combination of cautious welcome and open derision. Of course, I’m referring to Boris Johnson’s new anti-obesity plan – not my announcement about standing down as the leader of the Glasgow Labour Group.

Boris’s announcement comes while the future of gyms and leisure centres across Scotland hangs in the balance. Whilst we have made great strides in recent months here in Glasgow, with significant active travel infrastructure being installed during lockdown, we must realise that, when it comes to being overweight and obesity, we still have a long way to go.

As far back as 2010, the Scottish Government referred to levels of obesity in Scotland as an epidemic – a label that continued in use until our current crisis. Scotland has some of the highest rates of obesity for men and women among OECD countries.

Let me be clear: this isn’t about body shaming or downplaying eating disorders. This is about recognising and acknowledging the close relationships between poverty, deprivation, poor diet and low levels of physical activity. It would be folly to have any serious conversation about the issue without recognising that all these factors are inextricably linked.

There is recognition across the board that we need a whole-system response. Improving diet and getting people moving is as much about local economic development, improving wages, the physical nature of our communities and local facilities as it is about changing the position of junk food in shops and ending unhealthy BOGOF deals.

I wonder, as we move out of lockdown, whether this imperative has been lost in the myriad of competing pressures driving Government policy?

If we can open pubs, why not gyms? We still have no clear guidance from the Scottish Government when gyms, leisure centres or our football pitches can reopen.

I have written here before about the role of Glasgow Life in our City’s remarkable transformation – and the scale of ambition needed in the face of the current crisis. The renewed focus on physical health is another stark reminder of that legacy.

It may be taken for granted now, but having affordable and accessible facilities at places like Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Scotstoun Leisure Centre and the Emirates Arena was the result of deliberate political choices – to provide an affordable gym alternative for those living in some of our most deprived communities.

As long as Glasgow Life faces the prospect of a financial blackout, then the future of its facilities hangs in the balance. While the Scottish Government refuses to commit to a new deal for Glasgow. If we are serious about tackling this epidemic which has, if we’re honest, been with us for decades, we must recognise that local, community facilities must be a core component of our response. Much has been said about putting mental and physical wellbeing at the heart of Scotland’s “new normal” – this is one opportunity to demonstrate the truth behind that sentiment.