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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 26 December, 2002, 06:23 GMT
Obesity threatens children's lifespans
Fast food
The society wants action to promote healthy eating
Children's poor eating habits could result in them living shorter lives than their parents, the Fabian Society has warned.

The left-wing think tank claims that as one in 10 British children are obese, urgent action is needed to promote more healthy eating.

A new report by the society calls for a ban on advertising of sweets and fizzy drinks targeted at children, for example near schools or before the "watershed" time on television.

We stand on the brink of an obesity epidemic that could wipe years off children's lives

Dr Howard Stoate
Labour MP
It suggests granting planning permission to new food stores only if they are accessible by foot and giving tax credits to retailers in "food poor" areas.

The government is also urged to provide households with nutritional advice and recommended daily menus.

The Fabian Society also believes the responsibility for school sport should be transferred to the Department of Health.

The report, written by Dr Howard Stoate, Labour MP for Dartford and chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Primary Care and Public Health, states that around 10% of children in Britain are obese.

Time bomb

Their lives are likely to be shorter than their parents, and they will also enjoy fewer years free from chronic illness or disease.

"Not only do we stand on the brink of an obesity epidemic that could wipe years off children's lives, but poverty still condemns thousands of children every year to a lifetime of poor health followed by early death," said Dr Stoate.

"The government, parents and companies have a responsibility to act now if we are to avoid this time bomb."

Adrian Harvey, deputy general secretary of the Fabian Society, said: "We wouldn't wish to deny anyone the pleasure of the festive period.

"However at this time of traditional overindulgence it is important to remember the consequences of child obesity to their future health and life expectancy and to take this opportunity to draw to the government's attention the need for a children's public health strategy."

The report, All's Well that Starts Well, is published by the Fabian Society on Thursday.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Steve Kingstone
"Britain on the brink of a an obesity epidemic"
  Dr Howard Stoate MP
"They don't get a balanced view of what's available"
See also:

17 Sep 02 | Health
17 Sep 02 | UK
12 Sep 02 | Health
09 Sep 02 | Leicester 2002
03 Sep 02 | Health
23 May 02 | Health
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