Chips off the menu

FAST-FOOD exclusion zones could be set up around Barking & Dagenham schools in response to shocking figures on childhood obesity. Tots born in this borough are more likely to be overweight than a child living anywhere else in London. More than 28 per ce

FAST-FOOD 'exclusion zones' could be set up around Barking & Dagenham schools in response to shocking figures on childhood obesity.

Tots born in this borough are more likely to be overweight than a child living anywhere else in London.

More than 28 per cent of children in Barking & Dagenham are obese by the time they reach reception class - just four or five-years-old.

And by the time they are ready to leave for secondary school, 40 per cent are overweight. This is way above national and London averages.


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The borough has a total of 187 takeaways selling unhealthy meals.

It is thought that the sheer quantity of greasy food on offer is directly affecting childhood obesity levels.

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Research commissioned by the NHS found that Thames Ward was one of the worst places in London to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.

The area was ranked as one of the "worst food deserts" with little or no access to foods that would help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The council's executive will meet next Tuesday to discuss a proposal which would see a 400-metre fast-food exclusion zone around schools.

It would mean no new takeaway restaurants would be able to set up anywhere near a primary or secondary school.

Planning permission would only be granted outside the exclusion zone if the fast-food outlet was within Barking town centre, Dagenham Heathway, Chadwell Heath or Green Lane district centres.

No more than five per cent of the shops in any parade would be takeaways, there can only be two adjacent to each other, and there must be two non-fast- food shops between them.

It is hoped that this 'exclusion zone' alongside other plans to tackle childhood obesity will help to reduce this growing problem in the borough.

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