Keeping the takeways away from schools will cut obesity says Wakefield Council

Wakefield Council says that proposals to prevent takeaways from opening near schools will help cut childhood obesity across the district.

The council is expected to approve plans that restrict takeaways and fast food outlets from opening within 400m of schools at a meeting later this month.

Coun Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This plan is to stop it being so easy for children to eat unhealthy foods and to help cut down on obesity.

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“We are trying to encourage healthy living and lifestyles across the district and this is all part of the plan.”

The scheme is part of Wakefield Council’s Local Development Framework (LDF) which all councils are required to have in place.

They provide guidelines for decision-making on new developments and planning applications.

The guidance on takeaways was approved by the council’s cabinet on Tuesday and is expected to become part of the LDF at a full council meeting on September 16.

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Coun Jeffery said: “If these proposals get adopted then it will mean we have proper legal grounds for turning down planning applications in the future.

“We believe it is the right thing to do and have spoken to a lot of schools across the area who are all on board with what we’re planning.”

The council has included the proposals in its LDF after Public Health England launched its Healthy People, Healthy Places programme, which aims to promote healthy lifestyles across the country.

As part of the scheme, the government published the Obesity and the environment report, which offers advice on how to make areas healthier.

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The report said: “Obesity impacts on health in many ways. It is a cause of chronic disease leading to early death. It increases the risk of type two diabetes, raised blood pressure and colorectal cancer.

“Two-thirds of English adults, one fifth of children in reception (four to five year-olds) and a third in year six (ten to 11-year olds) are obese or overweight.”

The report also said that children who eat school meals tend to eat a healthier diet than those who don’t.

Coun Jeffery said: “School meals are a lot healthier these days as well and we want to promote them among parents.

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“They provide children with a healthy, nutritious meal during their school day.”

Dr Andrew Furber, director of public health at Wakefield Council, said: “Eating habits are formed in childhood and we want to encourage young people to make healthy choices, to protect their health throughout their lives.”