UK Doctors Say Fast Food Buffer Zones Around Schools Will Decrease Childhood Obesity Rates

UK Doctors Say Fast Food Buffer Zones Around Schools Will Decrease Childhood Obesity Rates
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School children will have to walk close to a quarter-mile to the nearest fast food restaurants in the UK if a group of doctors has their way. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is urging the government to ban fast food restaurants from opening within 400 metes of schools in an effort to help tackle the nation’s rising childhood obesity epidemic.

According to the Daily Mail, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which represents more than 17,000 doctors in the UK, is urging ministers to “take a leap of faith” and enact laws that help keep children from such easy access to fast food. The group also says programs to help monitor childhood weight need to start earlier in efforts to catch potential obesity issues before they become problems for the children.

The college estimates that 1,800 schools are within 400 meters of at least ten fast food restaurants.

Britain is battling a serious childhood epidemic; in some parts of the country, nearly half of students are overweight or obese, with the highest childhood obesity rates in all of Europe.

“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,” Russell Viner, president of the college, told the Daily Telegraph.

“People tend to eat what’s in front of them and we need to make it easier for children to make the right choices.”

Not only has fast food been linked to the global rise in obesity, but numerous studies have linked processed meats to increased risks for certain types of cancer as well.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.