UK bans junk food in schools as obesity rises | india | Hindustan Times
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UK bans junk food in schools as obesity rises

Fizzy drinks, burgers, chocolates and chips may soon be on way out as Britain worried over alarming number of obese children.

india Updated: Mar 03, 2006 19:43 IST
Vijay Dutt

The bubble seems to have burst for synthetic foods.

Fizzy drinks, burgers, chocolates and chips may soon be on way out as Britain worried over alarming number of obese children and adults is ending its love affair with junk food.

It is too early to say whether the changes will improve health but a survey this week showed obesity had risen to affect one in seven children by 2003. Over 53 per cent of children between four and 18 years are suffering from dental decay. The rise in adults suffering from diabetes and blood pressure too resulted from bad food habits.

In a new initiative, government advisers recommended that chocolates, sweets and fizzy drinks should be outlawed from all school tuck shops and vending machines. Schools will be banned from selling junk food like nuts, crisps and chocolates and colas.

Children will be allowed to take milk, yoghurt drinks and low calorie chocolates.

It is a quiet revolution that is taking place, said a spokesman, in the shop shelves, in canteens and, most importantly, in homes. "We have started eating more healthily and starting to avoid foods that lead to obesity and illness."

The latest sales figures show a dramatic slump of sales at Britvic, the soft drinks company. It lost £136m in share value on Thursday, after acknowledging that the fizzy drink market was in clear decline.

An Indian GP said India should take note of the changes here especially with the western lifestyle now being an integral part of the Indian culture. The junk food industry could concentrate on developing countries to offset losses here.

Market research shows that a sharp divide has opened up between the sales of healthy and unhealthy foods. Amid growing concern about obesity, the market research firm AC Nielsen's barcode data from 83,000 shops revealed sales of crisps, chocolate, fizzy drinks and other treat products are haemorrhaging.

McDonald's is another casualty. It revealed this week that falling UK sales had damaged global profits and announced the closure of 25 UK restaurants. The fast-food giant's decline comes despite the introduction of salads and a marketing re-launch with the slogan "We're lovin' it".

With makers of unhealthy foods losing tens of millions of pounds of sales, a scramble has begun in the food industry to reformulate products to appeal to health-conscious shoppers. Cadbury has launched a chocolate bar with just 99 calories, Walkers has cut fat in its crisps, fizzy drinks makers are buying up water and juice companies.