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By the end of 2017, 35 local authorities (LAs) across England had adopted takeaway management zones (or “exclusion zones”) around schools as a means to curb proliferation of new takeaways. In this nationwide, natural experimental study, we evaluated the impact of management zones on takeaway retail, including unintended displacement of takeaways to areas immediately beyond management zones, and impacts on chain fast-food outlets. We used uncontrolled interrupted time series analyses to estimate changes from up to six years pre- and post-adoption of takeaway management zones around schools. We evaluated three outcomes: mean number of new takeaways within management zones (and by three identified sub-types: full management, town centre exempt and time management zones); mean number on the periphery of management zones (i.e. within an additional 100 m of the edge of zones); and presence of new chain fast-food outlets within management zones. For 26 LAs, we observed an overall decrease in the number of new takeaways opening within management zones. Six years post-intervention, we observed 0.83 (95% CI -0.30, −1.03) fewer new outlets opening per LA than would have been expected in absence of the intervention, equivalent to an 81.0% (95% CI -29.1, −100) reduction in the number of new outlets. Cumulatively, 12 (54%) fewer new takeaways opened than would have been expected over the six-year post-intervention period. When stratified by policy type, effects were most prominent for full management zones and town centre exempt zones. Estimates of intervention effects on numbers of new takeaways on the periphery of management zones, and on the presence of new chain fast-food outlets within management zones, did not meet statistical significance. Our findings suggest that management zone policies were able to demonstrably curb the proliferation of new takeaways. Modelling studies are required to measure the possible population health impacts associated with this change.

Original publication




Journal article


SSM - Population Health

Publication Date