The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have urged the government to take more action in tackling the issue of childhood obesity in the UK. According to child healthcare professionals, fast food outlets should be banned from operating within 400 metres from schools in England.
The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has already suggested such measures should be established in the capital. Although The College agrees, it has called for the potential ban to be extended throughout the UK. President of The College Professor Russell Viner, stated that ministers should “take a leap of faith” by introducing the measures to make it easier for councils to keep junk food away from students.
Schools are Easily Targeted by Fast Food Outlets
The logic behind this plan is understandable. When schools are surrounded by fast food outlets, students are much more likely to visit them. They leave school hungry and they are greeted by many different junk food options. What’s more, these outlets are normally cheap, and people tend to eat what’s in front of them. The government is being urged to help make it easier for children to make the right choices.
Almost a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese. Younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese for long periods of time. In May this year, the Commons Health and Social Care Committee will open hearings for an inquiry o childhood obesity. The aim is to examine areas which require action.
A Potential Solution?
In addition to the ban. The college also proposed that there should be a national programme to weigh and measure children from birth to their teenage years. GPs would also be given specific training on how to talk to parents when it is clear their child is gaining weight and could be cause for concern. Viner has emphasised that “we need to be prepared to have difficult conversations”.