No More Fast Food Outlets Built Near Schools

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After a KFC was built straight across the road from my sons primary school, I thought, is this okay? You can see the building and its advertisement from the schools classrooms and playground. And the smell is strong enough to smell from the school also. So I spoke to the principal to find that schools don't have a say of what gets built in the radius of a school. This to me was concerning. I put my concerns out there through the media and started a petition against fast food outlets being built in close proximity of schools. Since I started my petition back in late May, and put it out there to the media, this has been a topic of conversation with large support for.  As a parent I support healthy eating for my children and the schools promote healthy eating in schools. Yet I feel this is undermined when the fast food chains can build so close to a school. Recently I have learned that a McDonalds and a community preschool are about to be built on the same section right next door to each other in a suburb in Christchurch. I feel these fast food chains are targeting young children and low decile areas, and the research seems to back it up. Researcher Peter Day and Geo-health lab co-director Dr Jamie Pearce (University of Edinburgh) conducted a study at the University of Canterbury  in 2011 about fast food outlets clustered around schools. The study carried out found that fast food outlets are five and a half times more likely to build near schools than other areas. He also found the proximity of such outlets were highest around low decile schools. These poorer areas averaging 24.5 fast food and convenient stores per 1,000 pupils within 800 metres of a school compared with 9.7 in richer areas. Peter Day also conducted a temp analysis of the spatial clustering of food outlets around schools in Christchurch from 1966-2006. Each year the number and proportion of outlets by the category were calculated within 800 metres. Results show a median number of supermarket stores within schools decreased 5-1, convenient stores decreased 2-1, yet fast food stores increased from 1-4, that's a increase from 0.10-0.67.  An Auckland study 2014 carried out at FFTC found that more than 60% of urban schools have fast food outlets within 800metres. Which works out to be 85 unhealthy outlets per square kilometre found for 1 school, that's 85/1. Since this I have had meetings with Labour MP Ruth Dyson and we have had a delegation hearing early July to put our concerns to the board. This was a positive outcome, which has led to a hearing with Christchurch City Council in August. Hopefully with enough support we can make a by law to prevent anymore of the fast food outlets being built in close proximity of schools. And give New Zealand schools a say of what gets built within a 800m radius of the school. Also I would like to see these fast food outlets that are already established in close proximity of schools promote a healthy alternative option to school children and families in these areas.