Paediatricians call for fast food ban near schools

The government should impose a ban on fast food outlets within 400 metres of schools.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health wants to see the measure included in an updated childhood obesity strategy, due to be published this summer.

“Kids are coming out of school hungry and finding themselves surrounded by cheap chicken shops, chip shops and other types of junk food. This just wasn’t the case 20 or 30 years ago,” the college’s president Professor Russell Viner told the Telegraph.

A few local authorities have imposed restrictions already, but it is not easy.

In London, the mayor Sadiq Khan has drafted plans to put in place restrictions around new fast food outlets. New takeaways, he said in December, should not be permitted within 400 metres walking distance of an existing or proposed primary school.

Researchers from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) recently showed that children living close to fast food outlets are more likely to gain weight compared with those living further away.

Previous research has found that adults and children who live near fast food outlets are more likely to be overweight or obese but the UWE Bristol study was the first to show an association between accessibility to fast food outlets and weight gain over time.

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