Dis­cover fast food cap­i­tal of Wales

CON­CERNS GROW­ING OVER RISING OBE­SITY LEV­ELS

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS - Steve Bagnall

CONWY is the fast food cap­i­tal of Wales, fig­ures have re­vealed.

With 81 take­aways for ev­ery 100,000 peo­ple, it has the largest pro­por­tion of all the Welsh coun­ties and is one of the high­est in the UK.

In to­tal Conwy has 95 fast food joints lo­cated around its towns and vil­lages, and there are con­cerns they may con­trib­ute to in­creas­ing obe­sity lev­els.

Out of 215 lo­cal au­thor­i­ties across the UK, Conwy came 17th for the number of fast food restau­rants com­pared to pop­u­la­tion.

Gwynedd to­talled 85, with 69 per 100,000; Wrex­ham has 65 and Flintshire 75 in to­tal, both with 48 per 100,000.Den­bighshire has 55 and An­gle­sey 40 fast food eater­ies.

Al­though the Welsh cap­i­tal Cardiff has 250 take­aways, that only equates to 69 per 100,000 peo­ple.

The high­est pro­por­tion of take­aways was in Westminster, Lon­don, with 127 per 100,000, Black­pool was sec­ond with a ra­tio of 97 per 100,000.

Re­search also showed the UK has the high­est con­cen­tra­tion of take­aways in nearly a decade, de­spite ef­forts to tackle peo­ple get­ting fat.

Moves have been made by some lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to limit ex­po­sure to fast food.

Wrex­ham coun­cil’s plan­ning guid­ance states take­aways should not be lo­cated in the town cen­tre, pre­dom­i­nantly res­i­den­tial ar­eas or within 400 me­tres of a school or col­lege.

The fig­ures also showed the UK now has the high­est number of take­aways in a decade.

A Pub­lic Health Wales (PHW) spokesman said data showed more than one in four children aged 4/5 years are and 59% of adults are over­weight and lev­els of obe­sity are rising.

“While it is too soon to see an over­all trend, there is an in­creas­ing gap in obe­sity lev­els be­tween the most and least dis­ad­van­taged ar­eas in Wales,” he said.

“We know that there is a re­la­tion­ship be­tween the amount of fast food peo­ple eat and whether they are over­weight or obese.

“Food cooked in the home tends to be less calo­rie dense, and lower in fat, sugar and salt com­pared to food pur­chased through fast food out­lets.

“Pub­lic Health Wales is work­ing with the Welsh Gov­ern­ment to de­velop a new na­tional Healthy Weight Strat­egy which will in­clude how the food en­vi­ron­ment can sup­port peo­ple to eat health­ier food,” the spokesman added.

PHW is also work­ing with the food in­dus­try to in­crease healthy choices, bet­ter menu la­belling for peo­ple and backs health im­pact as­sess­ments to help coun­cils con­sid­er­ing plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions for fast foot out­lets.

The Bri­tish Take­away Cam­paign said the fast food sec­tor sup­ports more than 230,000 jobs and con­trib­utes £4.5bn to the UK econ­omy each year.

A cam­paign spokesman said steps were be­ing taken to of­fer health­ier op­tions.

“Take­away restau­rants are now of­fer­ing a greater range of menu op­tions in re­sponse – 96% of take­away restau­rants now of­fer veg­e­tar­ian op­tions, whilst al­most two-thirds (65%) of­fer low-fat op­tions and 59% of­fer low salt op­tions,” the spokesman said: “A fur­ther 73% of­fer small por­tion sizes, and to­gether these small, prac­ti­cal ac­tions make a big over­all dif­fer­ence.

“It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that many take­aways are small and in­de­pen­dently-owned, and do not have ac­cess to the re­sources of the big chains to al­low them to go fur­ther, such as calo­rie la­belling, for ex­am­ple.

“That’s why the BTC is call­ing for the Gov­ern­ment to pro­vide a free tool such as a sim­ple on­line calo­rie cal­cu­la­tor, help­ing take­aways pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion to their cus­tomers in a cost ef­fec­tive way.

“Nine in 10 take­aways say they would use such a tool should it be made avail­able.”

● Gwynedd has 69 take­aways for ev­ery 100,000 peo­ple, lead­ing to con­cern over obe­sity lev­els

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