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US: Fast food restaurants near schools linked to obesity

Californian teenagers are more likely to be obese if their school is located close to a fast food restaurant, according to University of California, Berkeley economists.

Their study of  California’s 9th graders found that having a fast food restaurant within a tenth of a mile of their school (160 m)  is associated with at least a 5.2 percent increase in obesity rates. But the researchers found no connection between fast food and obesity if the outlets are a quarter of a mile (400m) to half a mile (800m) from high schools.  There was also no correlation between obesity and weight gain and the presence of non-fast-food restaurants near a school.

“Our results imply that policies restricting access to fast food near schools could have significant effects on obesity among school children,” they say.

Read more: Press release, UC Berkeley, 4 Mar 2009

Published on March 6, 2009 in International news