A study has found that young people living near an outlet that sells fast food are not more likely to become overweight, and therefore in need of obesity treatment.
Researchers at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) made the discovery after tracking the weight of children over a period of time both before and after a fast food shop had opened up near their home and after.
They did however find that an overweight child was more likely to lose the fat if he or she moved to an area with sports and playing facilities.
Dr Robert Sandy, professor of economics and assistant executive vice president of Indiana University, commented: "This study contradicts anecdotal information and provides scientifically verified insights into a wide range of variables that we hope will help physicians and public policy makers fight childhood obesity more effectively."
The huge jump in diabetes cases catalogued by a recent report by the NHS can be attributed to the obesity epidemic, doctors have claimed.