Dr Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer for Wales, also said not allowing pupils to leave school at lunchtimes and providing healthy meals in schools would also have an impact. According to figures from the latest Welsh Health Survey, 35% of all children are overweight or obese, of which 19% are obese.
The Welsh Government is asking whether new legislation should be introduced to address the big health challenges facing Wales, such as obesity, high rates of smoking and alcohol consumption and low levels of physical activity.
Dr Hussey said:
“Obesity in childhood can lead to a lifetime of serious health problems, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. Refusing applications for more fast food outlets in the vicinity of schools would support children to make healthier food choices.
“A great example of how we can make a difference is the Appetite for Life initiative; recommended food and nutritional standards to help schools to provide healthy meals. In 2013 councils and schools will have a duty to meet these standards.”
The Welsh Government’s consultation on whether new laws to improve the health of the nation should be introduced closes next month.
Any proposed legislation would have to be considered against whether the National Assembly for Wales had competence to pass such laws, and whether it complied with human rights legislation or EU laws.
Dr Hussey continued:
“Everyone has an opinion on health. That’s why I want to encourage anyone who can contribute their ideas on the way to improve health in Wales to attend our Big Health Debate events.”
Two events are taking place. On Thursday 7 February between 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm at the Welsh Government Offices, Sarn Mynach, Llandudno Junction, Conwy LL31 9RZ
On Wednesday 13 February between 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm at the Temple of Peace and Health, Cathays Park Cardiff CF10 3AP
For more information and to book a place email:
BigHealthDebate@quadrant.co or call: 029 20694 900
The consultation to collect views about whether a Public Health Bill is needed in Wales closes on February 20.