Fast food restaurants make up more than a quarter of all eateries in England and are found in higher concentrations in deprived areas, new figures showed.
Of the 207,617 eateries in England, 53,333 – or 26 per cent – are fast food outlets selling items including burgers, kebabs, chicken, chips and pizza, according to Public Health England (PHE) data.
The poorest communities are hotspots for such outlets, PHE said, and Blackpool has the highest density of fast food outlets with 232.2 per 100,000 people in England.
Rochford, in Essex, has the lowest at just 25.7.
The figures come days after the Government published the second chapter of its childhood obesity strategy, which includes proposals to introduce calorie labelling on menus as well as a 9pm watershed on adverts for junk food on TV.
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, 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 have the power to help shape our environment and support people in making healthier choices.
“They need to question whether these fast food hotspots are compatible with their work to help families and young children live healthier lives.”
Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, called for new legislation to help councils.
She said: “We urgently need to take action to tackle childhood obesity and councils are playing their part, but need more planning powers to help tackle this epidemic which has made the UK the most obese nation in western Europe.