Sharp increase in fast food around secondary schools: report
The number of fast food places around secondary schools in the Netherlands increased by a massive 40 percent in the past decade. Around secondary schools with many disadvantaged pupils, the increase is even 48 percent, according to research by Pointer.
Pointer looked at the available food within a five-minute walk of 882 secondary schools that existed in 2021 and 2011. The number of fast-food joints around these schools increased by 40 percent. The number of supermarkets increased by 26 percent.
The researchers also included Statistics Netherlands data on “disadvantaged pupils” - kids whose parents have a low education level or financial problems, for example - at schools. The stats office passes this data on to the Ministry of Education so they can divide education money appropriately among schools.
Pointer found that the number of fast-food joints increased more around schools with the most disadvantaged pupils (48 percent) than around schools with few disadvantaged pupils (32 percent). The increase of supermarkets was also higher around disadvantaged schools, 39 percent compared to 15 percent.
State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen of Public Health called the increase in fast-food around schools “shocking.” According to him, it is “extra distressing” that the supply increased more around disadvantaged schools. Van Ooijen is working on legal measures to make the environment healthier, for example, by allowing municipalities to ban fast food chains from opening new restaurants around schools. “There is nothing wrong with eating fast food every now and again, but for our health, we must do something about the current overload.”