Tower Hamlets GP calls for fruit and vegetable stalls outside Tube stations in ‘war on chicken shops’

Dr Sam Everington is the chairman of NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group. Pic: NHS

Dr Sam Everington is the chairman of NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group. Pic: NHS - Credit: Archant

Fruit and vegetable stands outside Tube stations should be unleashed across London in a ‘war on chicken shops’, a top doctor has suggested.

Professor Sir Sam Everington, chair of NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, has suggested mini greengrocers outside the 270 Underground entrances to tackle the obesity crisis.

Speaking at Tower Hamlets health and wellbeing board on Monday, Sir Everington said the stalls would mean healthy snacks were available when people are “most vulnerable” to purchasing high in fat foods.

He said: “Healthy food needs to be more obviously available.

He added: “We want to declare a war on chicken shops. They seem to everywhere and appeal to children.”

Sir Everington, who was knighted in 2015 for services to primary care, said officials needed to find innovative ways of teaching families about healthy eating.

“Last time I did my weekly shop there was a family with not a single piece of fruit in their basket,” he said.

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“It was chocolate drinks and crisps. And this stuff is expensive. We need to get over this idea that healthy food is more expensive than eating unhealthily. It’s not. And we need to communicate that better.”

Sir Everington is a GP and also the chair of the London Clinical Commissioning Council, which brings top medical representatives from each borough together to help manage city-wide health initiatives in conjunction with City Hall, Public Health England and local authorities.

Nearly 40 per cent of children aged 10 and 11 in London are overweight or obese, according to City Hall figures, and adults have higher obesity rates than comparable global cities such as New York, Sydney and Paris.

Transport for London does not manage all the pitches outside Tube stations and individual councils would likely have to grant licenses for the stalls if the initiative was rolled out.

Next month adverts for junk food will be axed at stations and bus stops as part of the Sadiq Khan’s plan to fight soaring rates of childhood obesity.

TfL is using a nutrient profiling model, created by Public Health England, which gives food a score based on nutrients and ingredients that should be avoided, such as high levels of refined sugar, saturated fat and salt.

The system is used by Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority as a basis for regulating media advertising.

The Healthy London Partnership, an NHS programme which works with City Hall, councils and Public Health England, backs the ban.