- The Royal College of Paediatrics and Health called for radical fast food bans
- Health experts said extensive powers should be given to councils to help them
- The college also called for children to be weigh and measured from a young age
Fast food restaurants should be banned from opening within 400 metres of schools to tackle childhood obesity, leading doctors said yesterday.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has urged ministers to ‘take a leap of faith’ and introduce extensive powers to help councils keep junk food away from pupils.
The college also called for a national programme to weigh and measure children from birth through to adolescence because current weigh-ins are taken too late to identify problems. Doctors want the measures to form part of the Government’s childhood obesity strategy, which is due to be published this summer.
The college represents around 17,500 doctors and its latest intervention will increase pressure on ministers to tackle the country’s growing obesity epidemic.
Nearly half of primary school children are dangerously overweight in some parts of the country, according to Public Health England.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health called on the government to give councils the power to tackle childhood obesity
The doctors called for children to be weighed and measured from an earlier age to help track obesity more accurately
Britain’s obesity rates are the worst in Western Europe and rising faster than those in the US.
MPs on the House of Commons health and social care committee are to open an inquiry on childhood obesity next month.
In its submission to the inquiry the royal college called for a series of drastic measures to combat obesity.
Professor Russell Viner, president of the college, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘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.
‘People tend to eat what’s in front of them and we need to make it easier for children to make the right choices.’
Research suggests that 1,800 schools have at least ten fast food outlets within 400 metres of their grounds.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has proposed a ban on any new fast food outlets being built within that distance from schools.
Britain’s obesity rates are the worst in Europe and are rising faster than numbers in the US