Children are particularly susceptible to food advertising and media, which is why Ofcom has imposed restrictions for advertising unhealthy foods to children during the day-time. 6

Easy access to a healthy diet is especially important for young peopleFor example, it has been shown that secondary school-age children will travel up to 800 metres to purchase takeaway foods on their lunch breaks. 7  However, recent research by the Royal Society of Public Health found that nearly three quarters of young people surveyed thought that takeaway food high in fat, salt or sugar should come with a health warning about the risks of obesity.  A summary of the key findings of this study is provided in Box 2.

Box 2: Summary of findings of ‘The Child’s Obesity Strategy’ 8

This study, by the Royal Society of Public Health, involved interviews with 570 young people about fast food and takeaways, and found that:

  • over two thirds (71%) believe that takeaway food high in fat, salt or sugar should come with a health warning about the risks of obesity
  • over half of the young people surveyed had ordered a takeaway using their mobile phone
  • one in four young people (25%) have ordered a takeaway to their school during the school day
  • over one third (42%) of young people could walk from their school to somewhere selling unhealthy food and drink in under two minutes
  • almost one third (32%) have gone to a fast-food takeaway specifically because they offer free Wi-Fi
  • over half (60%) say it is easy to get unhealthy food from somewhere other than school during the day.

Locally, there are clear age differences in the extent to which residents perceive themselves to have a healthy diet.  In the 2015 Hackney health and wellbeing survey, respondents aged 16-24 were more likely to disagree that they have a healthy diet (19%) than average (11%).  Younger respondents were also more likely to buy food prepared outside the home.  Almost half of adults respondents aged 16-34 (48%) said they eat takeaway food once a week on average, compared to just over one third (38%) of the adult respondents as a whole. 9

Older residents are at risk of poor access to food. Age UK highlights the main barriers to be:  10

  • affordability
  • difficulty getting into stores (transport, carrying shopping)
  • difficulty in store (store layout, narrow aisles)
  • shopping for one (many packets of perishable food are large and not suited to individual portions)
  • bad weather (avoidance of extreme temperatures, risk of ice and falls).

 

References

  1. Ofcom, “HFSS Advertising restrictions Final Review,” July, 2010
  2. W. J. Willls, G. Danesi and A. B. Kapetanaki, “Lunchtime food and drink purchasing: young people’s practices, preferences and power within and beyond the school gate.,” Cambridge Journal of Education, vol. 46, no. 2, 2016
  3. The Royal Society of Public Health, “The Child’s Obesity Strategy; how young people would solve the childhood obesity strategy,” 2016
  4. Ipsos MORI, “Health and Wellbeing in Hackney: survey report for Hackney Council,” 2015
  5. Age UK, “Food shopping in later life,” 2012
  6. Ofcom, “HFSS Advertising restrictions Final Review,” July, 2010
  7. W. J. Willls, G. Danesi and A. B. Kapetanaki, “Lunchtime food and drink purchasing: young people’s practices, preferences and power within and beyond the school gate.,” Cambridge Journal of Education, vol. 46, no. 2, 2016
  8. The Royal Society of Public Health, “The Child’s Obesity Strategy; how young people would solve the childhood obesity strategy,” 2016
  9. Ipsos MORI, “Health and Wellbeing in Hackney: survey report for Hackney Council,” 2015
  10. Age UK, “Food shopping in later life,” 2012