Stop kids being driven to school to tackle obesity

Children should be dropped off away from the school gates to give them more exercise, the new president of the Faculty of Public Health said today.

In an interview with The Times, Professor John Ashton suggested curtailing the school run in a bid to tackle the obesity crisis among young people.

Instead of parents driving right up to the front of the school, Professor Ashton said there should be drop-off points further away.  

"One of the things we should be doing is really strictly prohibiting cars stopping outside school to drop kids off but having drop-off points, if at all, a few hundred yards away so at least the children get to walk a quarter of a mile each day form the dropping off point ... it would make a difference," he said.

While the previous generation has benefited from modern medicine, walking to school and work, and avoiding junk food, there has been a "deterioration of lifestyles" among young people today.

The lack of exercise and poor diet is producing a health crisis "in danger of writing off a generation", said Professor Ashton.

"We're used to this idea that our children are not going to be as well off as we have been. But I don't think anybody has really expressed yet that they may not be as healthy either," he said.