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 Child obesity cut by block on fast food shops

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PostSubject: Child obesity cut by block on fast food shops   Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:49 am

Here's a useful bit work a council did over here. Move fast food away from places kids go & they end up less fat! Let's hope others follow suit. The original article can be found here

Quote :
Child obesity cut by block on fast food shops
Katharine Barney and Sophie Goodchild
16.03.10

A council which banned fast food outlets from opening near schools has seen a drop in child obesity.

A year ago Waltham Forest became the first local authority to refuse planning permission for new takeaways within 400 yards of schools, leisure centres or parks.

The scheme has helped it buck the national trend and reduce childhood obesity levels for year six pupils.

The ban was supported by a drive to improve school dinners to ensure all pupils receive at least one healthy meal a day. All secondary schools also routinely bar pupils from leaving the premises at lunchtime.

Childhood obesity levels dropped from 22.8 per cent of year six pupils in 2007/08 to 20.6 per cent in 2008/09.

Waltham Forest's cabinet member for enterprise and investment, Terry Wheeler, said: "We are delighted that no new fast food outlets have opened in this borough in the last year and we are continually looking to build on our progress by encouraging our existing takeaways to offer healthier foods.

"Our residents overwhelmingly backed this scheme as part of a drive to tackle obesity in our population.

"It will also help ensure our town centres are more attractive places to visit by making them cleaner and safer." Other work to tackle obesity has included environmental health officers sending samples of chicken and chips from 11 takeaways for analysis to a government laboratory.

The analysis found that the average box contained 88 per cent of an adult's recommended daily fat intake, 58 per cent of the recommended calories and 72 per cent of the daily salt intake. Waltham Forest received five applications to open new hot food takeaways between 24 March last year and 1 March. They were all rejected. Since the scheme was established the number of outlets in the borough has dropped from 253 to 241. Fifteen other local authorities have contacted the council for advice on how the initiative works.

Dr David Haslam, of the National Obesity Forum, called on other councils to follow Waltham Forest's lead.

He said: "Some would see this as nannyism but I'm all for a bit of nannyism. We've seen school dinners improve a great deal but children can still go out to a fast food outlet. This (denying planning permission) makes perfect sense. Childhood obesity is going up at a slower rate so this sort of scheme comes at just the right time."
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