Portsmouth is the fast-food capital of the south east - now health experts call for action to stop more opening

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FIGURES have shown Portsmouth has the most fast food outlets compared to its population in the south east, fuelling concerns about rising obesity.

Public Health England has released the data which also shows deprived areas tend to have the most takeaways.

They are now calling for councils to impose 400m restrictions to stop unhealthy food being available near to schools and parks.

Portsmouth has 269 fast food restaurants which includes places selling sandwiches, burgers, chips, fried chicken, pizzas, kebabs and international cuisines. The data shows the city’s rate is 126 outlets per 100,000 people.

Other figures show 65 per cent of Portsmouth’s adult population is overweight.

Nearby Havant had 111 fast food places and a rate of 89 per 100,000 people while Gosport had 76 eateries with a rate of 88. Meanwhile Fareham had 55 and a rate of 47.

In the south east, seaside areas such as Portsmouth, Brighton and Hastings had the highest rates.

Dr Jason Horsley, director of public health in Portsmouth, said: ‘We take obesity seriously and have a range of activity that promotes a healthy weight through eating well and being active.

‘It’s to be expected that Portsmouth would have a higher number of fast food outlets than some other areas given that we’re a seafront city with a thriving port, which welcomes a significant number of tourists.

‘We are keen to work with businesses to ensure they offer the healthiest options.’

Portsmouth City Council offers one-to-one or group weight management support services, free walks and supports national wellbeing campaigns.

Councillor Matthew Winnington, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: ‘When you look at the data, a lot of seaside resorts have a high number of takeaways. That is a key part of being a tourism destination.

‘We know obesity is a problem but it isn’t just about what you eat. We are trying to encourage people to do exercise too to improve their wellbeing.’

Angela Baker, deputy director for health and wellbeing at PHE south east, said: ‘All councils in this area have plans to tackle childhood obesity.

‘However, we know the local environment is really important and we want to make it easier for families to make a healthy choice.

‘This is why we are urging local authorities, where there are not policies in place, to restrict fast food 400 metres from where children gather as a way to tackle childhood obesity.’