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Banning Fast Food Near Schools May Not Be the Answer

January 20, 2016
Food

A new study produced for the Food Research Collaboration (FRC), has concluded that banning fast food shops near schools won’t be enough to tackle childhood obesity. The research carried out by academics at the University of Hertfordshire, looked at a sample of 11 to 16 year olds across the UK.

Wendy Wills, Lead Researcher for Food and Public Health Research at the University of Hertfordshire, commented: “The food and drink sold on the high street to young people is a source of concern, in terms of the current public health agenda around obesity and nutrition. However, simply banning fast food outlets close to schools will not be enough to bring about change. We need a thoughtful but hard hitting approach that engages retailers as well as young people, schools and parents to create a wholesale shift in expectation about what kinds of food and drink we want our children and teenagers to buy.”

Researchers found evidence that secondary school pupils are willing to travel further afield to get the food they want, while in store restrictions may address impulse snacking but will not prevent young people selling food on amongst their peer group.

Recommendations from the report include regular engagement with young people on the subject, making the school environment more attractive through better marketing of tasty food, and motivating retailers to provide and promote healthier options.

You can download a copy of ‘Within Arm’s Reach: School Neighbourhoods and Young Peoples Food Choices’ HERE