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In the United Kingdom, a new survey – albeit a small one – has highlighted a significant problem that, no doubt, we could be, or are, experiencing here. The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), the Youth Health Movement and Slimming World surveyed more than 570 teenagers on the childhood obesity epidemic. The survey found almost one in four 13-to-18-year-olds had ordered fast-food takeout and had it delivered to their school.
Commenting on the report, Prof. Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, said: "It is now well recognized and extremely worrying that U.K. children leave school more overweight than when they start. So if the rise in child obesity prevalence in the U.K. is to be reversed and sustained, schools must be part of the solution."
The survey was published just ahead of the British government's childhood obesity strategy, which is expected shortly. RSPH Chief Executive Shirley Cramer said "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."
In the survey, teens were asked about their own habits as well as potential solutions to the problem:
• Half said fast-food firms should be banned from delivering to schools, after 25 percent 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 percent think food manufacturers are misleading people when they provide fat, salt and sugar for single servings rather than for the entire product.
And one-third of the group thought it would be a good idea to give food that is high in fat, salt or sugar film-style classifications such as G, PG, PG-13 – I would love to see just which foods get the R rating.