South Tyneside has more than one fast food outlets for every 1,000 residents, new figures reveal.
Public Health England (PHE) has published a new report, outlining the number of takeaways and burger bars in local authority areas across the country.
It shows South Tyneside has 167 fast food shops - 111.9 for every 100,000 residents.
The Beacon and Bents Ward - which covers South Shields town centre, and where South Tyneside Council recently refused planning permission for another takeaway in King Street - has the most, with 36.
The ward also has a 17.2 per cent level of 10 and 11-year-olds classed as being overweight.
The Cleadon Park and Fellgate and Hedworth wards have just two each.
Reducing obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles among our children and young people in particular are among our top priorities.Coun Tracey Dixon
PHE says the figures reveal England’s poorest areas are fast food hotspots, with more outlets in these communities than in the most affluent.
The data also suggests fast food outlets account for more than a quarter (26%) of all eateries in England.
At least 40 areas have developed policies to restrict the growth of new takeaways and fast food outlets, and PHE has helped develop stronger planning guidance to support other areas in doing this.
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “It’s not surprising some children find it difficult to resist the lure of fast food outlets when many neighbourhoods are saturated with them.
“Local authorities need to question whether these outlets are compatible with work to help families and young children live healthier lives.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing, said: “The number of takeaways in South Tyneside has increased by 18 per cent since 2014, and we know that they are more likely to be found in areas with higher levels of deprivation.
“Making healthy choices is much harder for people if there is a proliferation of hot food takeaways where they live.
“Reducing obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles among our children and young people in particular are among our top priorities.
“We adopted new planning guidance which allows us to factor in childhood obesity figures when determining planning applications for fast food outlets.
“We have just refused permission for a hot food takeaway in South Shields town centre, with local obesity levels being one of the grounds for refusal.
“Limiting exposure to unhealthy food choices is one of the ways we can take a pro-active approach towards promoting healthier living.”