FAST FOOD CITY: Unhealthy options on the rise in Ipswich
FRIED chicken, donuts, burgers and fries; there is no shortage of unhealthy options in Ipswich with the region now home to 63 fast food restaurants.
That's one for about every 3,000 people.
In 2013 research revealed the Ipswich City Council area had the sixth highest number of chain fast food outlets per capita in the state.
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The study examined the number of McDonald's, Hungry Jack's, KFC, Domino's, Pizza Hut, Eagle Boys, Red Rooster, Nando's, Subway, Oporto and Donut King outlets in each council area.
Since then the number of places where residents can grab a takeaway has risen by almost 9%.
Subway dominates the Ipswich fast food restaurant scene, with 11 stores in Ipswich.
McDonald's and Hungry Jack's were the next most prominent with 10 and eight stores respectively while there are eight places to chow down on KFC in Ipswich.
Pizza is also popular with seven Pizza Hut restaurants, seven Domino's and two Pizza Capers franchises in the region.
Does Ipswich have too many fast food restaurants?
This poll ended on 10 May 2017.
No, people should have choice
Yes, there are far too many
I don't care, I don't eat fast food
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
There are three places to get Red Rooster in Ipswich and three places where residents can get Donut King donuts.
Of all fast food restaurants, Oporto is the least popular with only one restaurant operating in the region.
Why does this matter?
Experts say having more fast food outlets available to us it makes it harder to make a healthy choice.
Elizabeth Harburg from Diabetes Queensland said the growing number of fast food restaurants in Ipswich was a concern and that wasn't only for those ordering donuts or desserts.
"Having more fast food options makes it harder for us to maintain a healthy weight," the Diabetes Queensland health executive said.
Fast food restaurants in Ipswich:
- Subway (11)
- McDonalds (10)
- Hungry Jacks (8)
- KFC (8)
- Pizza Hut (7)
- Dominos (7)
- Red Rooster (3)
- Donut King (3)
- Nando's (3)
- Pizza Capers (2)
- Oporto (1)
"Most of the foods available at fast food outlets are energy dense and nutrient poor so it's these kinds of foods that are contributing to overweight can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
"It's not so much the one nutrient (like sugar) that contributes to Type 2 diabetes, it's about the ongoing excess energy and lack of nutrients that come along with increase of fast foods."
Right now there are 10,123 people who are registered with Type 1 and 2 diabetes in Ipswich.
Of those people, 8742 have got Type 2 diabetes - the variety that can be affected by lifestyle.
Ms Harburg said Type 2 diabetes was more serious than many people realised.
"We are seeing it all over Queensland where we are far less active than we used to be and we are eating more than we need to be," she said.
"Type 2 diabetes is a really serious condition and it stays with you for life.
"It can lead to blindness, limb loss and fatigue so we are urging people in Ipswich to be really conscious about Type 2 diabetes and the impact it can have."
The latest Heart Foundation figures show about 73%, or more than 140,600 people, living in the Ipswich City Council region are overweight or obese.
Heart Foundation Queensland health director Rachelle Foreman said Heart Week, from April 30 to May 6, offered Ipswich locals a reminder about the dangers of overindulging on fast food.
"If you upsize a meal it can contain almost all of your daily kilojoule requirements. Apart from increasing weight gain, most of those foods have little or no nutrition, they are only supposed to be occasional" she said.
"People will purchase what's available. An increased exposure to fast food outlets increases peoples BMIs and obesity rates and that is related to heart disease.
"Those in the healthy weight range are the minority in Ipswich. It would be great to see that social norm turn around where it's more acceptable to eat healthy foods."
Ms Foreman said unfortunately 37% of what adults are eating in Queensland is 'discretionary' food and drink like fast food and more than half of the weekly food budget is spent on unhealthy options.
She offered a simple solution for Ipswich residents wanting to cut down their fast food intake.
"If people eat more vegetables and fruit it means they eat less non-essential foods so it reduces the amount of fast food we're having," she said.
"We are meant to have five serves of vegetables a day and only 7% of Queenslanders achieve that so try to add another serve of fruit and vegetables to your day."
What do you think? Does Ipswich have too many fast food chains or is it good that residents have more choices? Join the conversation at www.qt.com.au or on the Queensland Times Facebook page.
Zoom in and out on the map below to see where our fast food restaurants are: