A study has suggested that the number of takeaway outlets has significantly increased over the last 20 years, particularly in the poorest areas, and is likely to be a factor in why people living in such places are often overweight.
The research, carried out at the University of Cambridge, analysed the number of takeaways across Norfolk between 1990 and 2008 and how this related to levels of neighbourhood socioeconomic deprivation.
It is well known that frequent dining on food from fish and chip shops, kebab shops, and Indian and Chinese takeaways is linked to weight gain over time, and previous studies have shown that people of low socioeconomic status and living in deprived areas are more likely to be overweight and consume unhealthy diets than other sectors of the population.
Research carried out by the university last year found that those that lived and worked near a high number of takeaway outlets tended to eat more takeaway food and were more likely to be obese than those less exposed. The latest study, carried out at its Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), found that socioeconomic differences in takeaway food outlet access might partially explain observed socioeconomic differences in diet and body weight.
Over the 18 year period, the number of takeaway food outlets in Norfolk rose by 45%, from 265 to 385 outlets.
This equated to an increase from 2.6 outlets to 3.8 outlets per 10,000 residents.
The highest absolute increase in density of outlets was in areas of highest deprivation, which saw an increase from 4.6 outlets to 6.5 outlets per 10,000 residents (a 43% increase).