Children's hospitals are making fast food available to youngsters, despite obesity warnings.
More than a thousand kids under the age of four had to be hospitalised last year because they were too fat.
And grim figures show that over 16,000 under-18s needed treatment because of health issues caused by weight.
The NHS has expressed fears over the spiralling obesity epidemic amongst youngsters in Britain.
But despite that, Daily Star Sunday can reveal that 15 of the major children’s hospitals offer fast-food grub.
One has a Burger King, while another flags its proximity to pizza takeaways.
Between them they had 13 Costa Coffees, where sugar- and fat-laden cakes, muffins and pastries are sold.
There were also five Subways, where the average calorie count of a meal is 763 – more than a McDonald’s.
It is also higher than the 600-calorie maximum recommended by Public Health England for lunch or dinner.
Plus there were two Starbucks, a Pret A Manger, eight WHSmith stores selling sweets, crisps and chocolate and five M&S branches.
On top of that, all have shops selling confectionery and most have vending machines for goodies round the clock.
Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge – which has a children’s department – has a Burger King despite years of campaigns to shut it.
And Great Ormond Street Hospital in London advises people online that there are McDonald’s, Pizza Express and Pizza Hut outlets nearby.
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Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital is one of many with gut-busting foot-long Subway sandwiches as well as a Costa, M&S and WHSmith.
Doctors themselves have warned that Costa’s sugary menu is an unsuitable match for a hospital environment.
Current options include a Rolo muffin with 400 calories and 36g of sugar, a cheese toastie at 465 calories and a hot chocolate with 357.
Health experts slammed the NHS for allowing such firms on its sites.
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Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: “To say children are obese and then make foods like this available in children’s hospitals is just the height of hypocrisy.
“Junk food is the last thing that children should be given in hospital – particularly because it’s probably the food that landed them there in the first place.
“Paediatric trainees are taught that nutritious food is what kids need as part of their treatment and, very probably, yet more junk will prolong their stay.
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“Boris Johnson will not win his much proclaimed war on fat if hospitals fail to clean up their act.”
Studies show that obese children are more likely to become obese adults, with all the associated health problems – including high blood pressure, raised cholesterol levels, diabetes, angina, heart problems and premature death.
Obesity in general also costs the NHS £6billion a year.
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