Nutrition centre wants to limit Dutch fast food outlets
The Netherlands Nutrition Centre is asking for a complete ban on fast food outlets in areas around school.12 August 2008
THE NETHERLANDS - The Netherlands Nutrition Centre wants the brakes put on the growth of snack bars and fast food restaurants.
In neighbourhoods with many snack bars and fast food restaurants, the centre is asking local authorities to prevent similar outlets from opening up. In the areas around schools, it wants a complete ban on any business selling fast food.
The centre points to the US city of Los Angeles. A recent Los Angeles Times survey found that South Los Angeles had one of the highest concentrations of fast-food outlets in the city and far fewer grocery shops.
About 30 percent of adults and 39 percent of children in the area are obese, compared with just over 20 percent of adults and 23 percent of children in the county.
Worried about an epidemic of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, Los Angeles officials have forbidden entrepreneurs from opening up fast food restaurants in the south of the city.
The Netherlands Nutrition Centre is worried that unless similar action is taken, Dutch youngsters may end up following them down the same path.
Dutch hospitals are already treating thousands of children for obesity, and this is only a fraction of the almost 600,000 children thought to be obese. There have even been reports of morbid obesity in two and three-year-olds.
At first glance, it would appear to be a simple decision: cut out fast food, protect the health of our kids. Yet the South Los Angeles decision hasn't been universally welcomed.
There have been furious complaints from the business community and many people have objected to its imposition on predominantly poor people, calling the move "food apartheid".
To add to the confusion, new medical research is suggesting it may be possible to be fat but healthy.
Two New York researchers writing in the Archives of Internal Medicine report that a large number of overweight and obese US adults are metabolically healthy, with normal blood pressure and cholesterol.
They add that almost 25 percent of normal weight adults in one study showed risk factors for heart disease or diabetes and suggest it may not be diet that harms us but where the fat in our body ends up.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]
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