Call for ban on fast food deliveries to schools as quarter admit placing order


Health experts have called for a ban on fast food deliveries to schools after a poll found that a quarter of teenagers had ordered takeaways to their playground.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) made the call after a small poll found that almost one in four 13 to 18-year-olds had ordered a takeaway to their school.

The RSPH, along with the Youth Health Movement and Slimming World, surveyed more than 570 teenagers on the childhood obesity epidemic.

They were asked about their own habits as well as potential solutions to the problem. The findings include:

:: Half said fast food firms should be banned from delivering to schools, after 25% said they had done this in the past.

:: Almost four in five believe supermarkets should offer free fruit and vegetables to children to snack on while shopping with their parents.

:: The majority believe that soft drink contents should display the equivalent number of teaspoons of sugar on the packaging.

:: 82% think food manufacturers are misleading people when they provide fat, salt and sugar for single servings rather than for the entire product.

They also suggested they might be tempted to use a loyalty card that gives points for healthy food choices and a third thought it would be a good idea to give food that is high in fat, salt or sugar film-style classifications such as PG, 12 or 15.

The report comes ahead of the Government's childhood obesity strategy which is expected to be published in the summer.

"Our childhood obesity rates are disappointing, and tackling this must be a priority for government - there can be no excuses for fudging action on what is our number one public health challenge," said RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer.

"While we welcome the Government's introduction of a sugar levy on soft drinks, it is absolutely critical that the forthcoming childhood obesity strategy builds on this positive step with a basket of hard-hitting measures, from greater controls on advertising and marketing of junk food to food reformulation.

"This report gives a uniquely young person's perspective on what steps can and should be taken, and while there is no silver bullet, young people are very clear what they think the causes of obesity are, and what action they would like to see from government and industry in particular."

Commenting on the report, Professor Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "It is now well recognised and extremely worrying that UK children leave school more overweight than when they start. So if the rise in child obesity prevalence in the UK is to be reversed and sustained, schools must be part of the solution.

"The large number of children ordering fast food at school is great cause for concern.

"As child health professionals treating children with obesity-related conditions we urge government to note that young people themselves are asking for help. We call on them to consider the recommendations included in this excellent report for their long-awaited children's obesity strategy."