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Doctors 'seek ban on fast food outlets near schools'

Embargoed to 0215 Thursday March 29 Undated handout photo issued by George Washington University of a woman eating a hamburger, as research has shown that dining out, especially in fast-food restaurants, may increase exposure to potentially harmful hormone-disrupting chemicals. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday March 29, 2018. Study participants who ate out the previous day had levels of phthalates in their bodies nearly 35% higher than those who chose to stay in. See PA story HEALTH Dining. Photo credit should read: Isaiah & Taylor Photography/The Milken Institute School of Public Health/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Doctors have said councils should have more powers to keep junk food away from children following a rise in childhood obesity, according to a report.

One measure would let authorities stop fast food shops opening within 400 metres of every school in the UK.

The proposal should form part of the Government's updated childhood obesity strategy, due to be published this summer, according to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Daily Telegraph reported.

President Professor Russell Viner told the paper: "Kids are coming out of school hungry and finding themselves surrounded by cheap chicken shops, chip shops and other types of junk food.

"This just wasn't the case 20 or 30 years ago. People tend to eat what's in front of them and we need to make it easier for children to make the right choices."

Childhood obesity is on the rise, with almost one in 10 four and five-year-olds hitting dangerously fat levels, figures show.

Obesity among children in the first year of primary school rose for a second year in a row in 2016/17, according to NHS Digital data.

Another proposal would reportedly see children regularly weighed and measured from birth through adolescence.

The Commons Health and Social Care Committee will next month hold hearings on the issue, with the Royal College reportedly calling for the measures as part of a submission.

Another study from University College London last year found more than one in three teenagers is overweight or obese.

Deprived areas of the country are particularly affected, with more than double the number of obese children compared to more affluent areas.