A new report has called for measures to restrict sales of hot food takeaways near schools in order to tackle the UK’s growing child obesity problem.

The report, entitled Hot Food Takeaways: Planning a Route to Healthier Communities, has been published by the organisation Sustain, an advocacy group for better food and farming which aims to enhance health and welfare as well as improve working and living conditions.

Sustain claims that fast food giants such as McDonalds and KFC “are eyeing up 800 new UK sites”, in “aggressive” expansion plans.

The charity warns local planning policies to combat obesity are already under attack and that existing policies still don’t go far enough in tackling child obesity.

The report therefore urges the Government to step in before a “new wave of junk food” hits the high street, recommending options such as restricting the sales of unhealthy food to children on the school run.

The recommendations from Sustain follow evidence from some local authorities that even the limited powers they have are being eroded, while companies like McDonalds and KFC are allocating millions of pounds on expansion plans, despite Government ambitions to halve child obesity by 2030.

With approximately 70,000 takeaways across Britain, and hot food takeaways tending to provide more unhealthy food, the authors argue that planning tools alone can only go so far and that the next Government must look into more radical options to improve the healthiness of what is on offer if it is serious about tackling child obesity.

Ben Reynolds, Deputy Chief Executive of Sustain who produced the report, said, “We recommend that the next Government gives local authorities more powers to decide what happens in their localities. Current planning policies only focus on new takeaways near schools. If we are serious about tackling child obesity, we should also be looking at existing takeaways and other outlets selling unhealthy food to kids around school hours”.

Last reviewed 20 November 2019