A new report into child obesity has revealed that children believe the best way to combat the problem is to ban takeaway deliveries to schools. Half the children surveyed said that they have ordered takeaways on their smartphone and a quarter of them had paid for a takeaway through the school gates.
The report from the Royal Society for Public Health also revealed some other initiatives that children believe will help stop childhood obesity. These ideas included supermarkets giving wonky fruit to children for free, food labels should have the entire fat, sugar and salt content printed on them and that all parks should have free Wi-Fi like the fast food restaurants do. These ideas came from a workshop of 19 young people, after this their initiatives were put to a larger survey of schoolchildren and adults.
Responses to the survey revealed that almost half of the children blamed takeaways for obesity and 42% said there was a place selling unhealthy food less than two minutes’ walk from their school. Parents tended to agree with this too, 74% of them believed that there should be restrictions on fast food restaurants serving children during school hours. Over 80% of children also thought that food manufacturers were misleading customers by only putting serving size information about a product on the packaging.
Childhood obesity is a serious issue that can have devastating long term effects. Nearly one in five of 10-11 year olds are obese. Researchers have also warned that by 2025 the number of obese children will almost double. This is clearly a significant crisis in public health. The government has agreed to introduce its own sugar tax in an effort to reduce the amount of fizzy drinks consumed. However, this won’t reduce children’s access to takeaways and junk food.
The government is expected to introduce their childhood obesity strategy later this year but no details have been revealed yet. Some of the ideas put forward by these children could have a positive impact on childhood obesity. There are many other measures that could be taken like tougher food standards, limiting the ability to build fast food restaurants and banning unhealthy foods. While there is no guarantee that these measures will work every effort must be made to save the health of future generations.
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