Canterbury University researchers say stricter zoning of the number of junk food shops near schools could be a useful tool in fighting obesity.
Their study uncovered a proliferation of fast-food and convenience stores near schools on the North Shore and in Waitakere, Lower Hutt, Wellington and Christchurch.
The GeoHealth Laboratory found that food outlets are five and a half times more likely to be around schools than in other areas.
The results also link the decile of the school with its proximity to nearby eateries.
In poorer areas, about 24 such food outlets per 1000 pupils were found to be within 800 metres of the school gate, compared to fewer than 10 such shops in more affluent areas.
The study also shows the clustering of food outlets is highest around secondary schools, especially those in densely-populated areas and commercial areas.