Pupils' breaktime takeaways

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Pupils risk health with breaktime takeaways
16/05/2010

Healthier meals may now be on offer within school gates, but new research shows lunchtime trips to nearby takeaways mean some pupils are getting their day's dose of salt before they even get home.

Environmental Health Food Teams in London took a snapshot of popular menu items bought by secondary school children from takeaway shops near 45 schools in 16 London Boroughs. They found takeaway meals sold near schools could contain over one and a half times more salt and three times more saturated fat than an adult’s maximum recommendations for a day.

Despite some London boroughs having lunchtime stay on site policies, they found fast food meals from local burger and kebab shops are still popular as an alternative to school lunches or for after school snacks. 

Foods like burgers, kebabs, pies and fried chicken chosen by secondary school children were analysed as part of the study, carried out by London Environmental Health Food Teams on behalf of Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH).
 
Three in every four meals surveyed contained more salt than is permitted under the nutrient-based standards for secondary school lunches, and more than half contained more saturated fat.

Traffic light labelling is useful for displaying nutritional information, but is not used in most takeaway outlets. If traffic light labelling was used, over one third (26 out of 73) of the items surveyed would be labelled red for salt, fat AND saturated fat.  Only three out of the 73 products surveyed, a Chicken Steak Burger from Western Chicken in Ealing, Jerk Chicken with Rice from Creole Cuisine in Enfield’s town market and a Chicken Burger with Lettuce from Pizza Corner in Sutton, would not get a red label at all.

CASH Chairman Professor Graham MacGregor, who is also Chairman of the Blood Pressure Association, said: “Research shows that children who eat higher salt diets have higher blood pressure, and are therefore much more likely to have heart attacks and strokes in the future, than those who eat less salt.”

Katharine Jenner, CASH Campaign Manager, said: “With no clear labelling at these takeaways it is very hard for teenagers to make a healthy choice. These venues have a huge responsibility to reduce the amount of salt and fat they add to foods that are eaten by school children.” 

Environmental Heath Officers across London are developing a London-wide Healthy Food award scheme that will identify businesses including takeaways that have improved the nutrition of their food.

Rob Rees, Chair of the School Food Trust, said: “Of course teenagers will want to experiment and hang out with their friends. But times have changed – schools are working really hard to give teenagers a lunchtime experience that can rival the high street whilst still being healthy. It’s vital that this isn't undermined by nearby junk food outlets - that's why we support stay on site policies and steps to limit access to takeaway food around schools.”

Have a look at the tables below to see which fast foods at which takeaways contained the most salt and fat. Visit www.actiononsalt.org.uk for healthy lunchbox ideas.

Table One- Borough breakdown of highest salt per portion
London Borough
Average salt
Highest Salt Example
Salt Content (g)
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
2.86
Kebab Roll, Kebabish Oriental UK
5.7
London Borough of Barnet
2.43
Doner Kebab (with Salad), Dilber Kebab
4.13
London Borough of Brent
2.75
Chicken Fillet Burger & Chips, Sam's
4.58
London Borough of Bromley
4.02
Large Kebab & Chips, Eden Park Charcoal Grill
6.8
London Borough of Ealing
3.84
Doner Kebab, Tip Top Fish & Chips
7.4
London Borough of Enfield
2.55
8 Chicken Wings, Mighty Chicken
4.05
London Borough of Greenwich
4.1
Doner Kebab & Fries, Sunset Fried Chicken
7.23
London Borough of Havering
1.86
Chicken Fillet Burger, UK Fried Chicken & Pizza
2.69
London Borough of Lambeth
1.93
Cheeseburger & Chips, Morley's
1.98
London Borough of Lewisham
1.62
Battered Sausage & Chips,  Lee Fish Bar
2.34
London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames
3.58
Savloy & Chips, Teddington Fish bar
4.7
London Borough of Southwark
1.73
Chicken & Chips, Perfect Fried Chicken
2.16
London Borough of Sutton
2.85
Small Lamb Doner, Kebab World
5.78
London Borough of Wandsworth
3.18
Kebab Roll with Salad, Tidesley Kebab Bar
5.8
Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
2.38
Traditional Sausage Roll, Bakers Oven
3.10
Royal Borough of Kingston Upon
Thames
3.55
Chicken Chrispy Bacon Panini, Café Giordano
6.1
Table Two – Borough breakdown of highest saturated fat per portion

London Borough

Average sat fat
Highest Saturated Fat Example
Sat Fat Content (g)
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
6.69
Chicken Kebab & Chips, No1  Pizza & Kebabs
12.3
London Borough of Barnet
14.58
Doner Kebab (with Salad), Dilber Kebab
35.50
London Borough of Brent
10.72
Chicken Wings & Chips, Chicken Cottage
17.1
London Borough of Bromley
22.60
Large Kebab & Chips, Eden Park Charcoal Grill
60.3
London Borough of Ealing
23.16
Doner Kebab, Tip Top Fish & Chips
48.70
London Borough of Enfield
9.15
8 Chicken Wings, Mighty Chicken
15.74
London Borough of Greenwich
17.28
Doner Kebab & Fries, Sunset Fried Chicken
25.20
London Borough of Havering
5.70
Battered Sausage & Chips, Nemo Place
11.9
London Borough of Lambeth
15
Cheeseburger & Chips, Dallas Chicken & Ribs
17.15
London Borough of Lewisham
8.8
Battered Sausage & Chips,  Lee Fish Bar
13.86
London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames
11.32
Cheeseburger & Chips, Best Grill Fish Bar
15.97
London Borough of Southwark
7.64
Chicken Wings & Chips, Al-Mustafa Spicy Chicken & Chips
13.62
London Borough of Sutton
11.69
Small Lamb Doner, Kebab World
31.40
London Borough of Wandsworth
15.08
Doner Meat & Chips, Southside Spi ce and Grill
32.12
Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
15.78
Chocolate Croissant, Cake Tarte
29.10
Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames
12.11
Beef Pie, Grab a Bite
18.74


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