In a helicopter parenting move we thought could only happen in America, London Mayor Sadiq Khan plans to announce a ban on the sale of fast food within 400 meters of primary or secondary schools in the city, the Evening Standard reported Monday.
Khan’s plan is an effort to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic in London, where nearly 40 percent of kids are overweight or obese by the time they finish primary school, the Standard reports. Khan tweeted Monday:
Existing fast food spots won’t be impacted by Khan’s proposal.
While it’s probably better for kids to congregate around a Big Mac after school than, say, smoking cigarettes by the alley like ruffians and giving passersby the stink eye, the number of fast food spots that have opened near London schools in recent years is fairly shocking. More than 5,000 “takeaways” have opened outside British schools in the last seven years, the Daily Mail reported last year.
Unfortunately, data is not on Khan’s side: A similar experiment in South L.A. not only forced locals to drive further for their fix, but the obesity rate in the area actually went up since the ban went into effect, the Los Angeles Times reports. Said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, to the Times:
“The ban is a short cut. That’s the way around dealing with the deeper problem... This is a community that is quality-food starved, quality-restaurant starved, quality-establishment starved. So as long as these problems persist, it’s going to leave it wide open for fast-food influence because they fill a need in this community.”
Khan’s London Plan is good news for another set of unhealthy Londoners, however: The drunks! The city, which is known for its robust pub scene, has lost a quarter of its pubs since 2001. Khan’s plan would force developers building homes near these pubs to properly soundproof their buildings, “thereby reducing sound complaints made against pubs and live music venues,” the Standard reports.