Meals at UK visitor attractions are overwhelmingly in excess of the recommended guidelines for children’s intake of fat, salt and sugar, a report warned today.
Council regulatory service Lacors tested 397 meals at 220 theme parks, wildlife parks, museums and other leisure attractions last year. Not one meal met the official guidelines for healthier food expected in schools during term time.
Some meals contained levels of fat 300% greater, and levels of saturated fat 600% greater, than the maximum recommended by the School Food Trust.
The report was particularly damning of theme parks, finding they had more total fat, saturated fat, protein and salt than wildlife museums, leisure centres, heritage sites and outdoor farm parks.
The region with the highest amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt of the six tested was the East Midlands.
The survey comes two years after a report by the Soil Association condemned many visitor attractions for their unhealthy food offering, and four years after a Which? report highlighting the “junk food villains” amongst such sites.
Geoffrey Theobald, chairman of Lacors, said: “Britain is in very real danger of producing a generation of obese people whose quality of life will suffer and life expectancy will drop.
“The diseases and ill health that are associated with obesity will be a significant drain on taxpayers’ money unless we all work to reduce the amount of fatty and salty foods that our children are eating.”
Peter Smale managing director of Turpin Smale, a consultancy to concession catering sites, said that operators have an obligation to offering healthy food to children.
“It’s about giving people the choice and not forcing the one way or the other,” he said. “But any outlet that doesn’t make healthy food available isn’t doing the right thing these days.”
By Tom Vaughan
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