The French government has voted to remove some 8000 vending machines selling chocolate, sweets and carbonated soft drinks from schools.

As in many other developed countries, obesity among French children has seen a sharp increase of around 17% in the last 20 years. One in ten children aged ten are now obese, reported the Washington Times. A recent study by the French Health and Education Ministries found that 19 percent of children ages ten and 11 are overweight.

Representing the vending machine industry, the National Association of Automated Sales (NAAS) protested that the ruling was pointless as schoolchildren would simply leave the building and go to buy their snacks at outside retail outlets. It placed the blame for childhood obesity squarely with parents, claiming that the average student barely uses vending machines in schools once per week.

The estimated 8000 machines in middle and secondary schools must be removed by the start of the academic year in September.