LIVINGSTON has been revealed as the fast food capital of Scotland, with a fast food chain store for every 3,517 of its inhabitants.
It also has the highest concentration of McDonald’s branches per capita, with one store for every 18,756 people compared with Glasgow’s one to 27,115.
Livingston beat ten other major Scottish towns and cities to win the dubious title. At the other end of the league table, Aberdeen came out with just one fast food chain outlet per 8,481 people.
The West Lothian town, which has a population of 56,269, is home to three McDonald’s, one Burger King, one KFC, three Subways, four Greggs, and a Domino’s.
With three large shopping centres crammed into the centre, it is likely most of the fast food outlets are serving hordes of famished consumers.
The South Lanarkshire town of Hamilton was hot on the heels of Livingston, in second place with one outlet for every 3547 of its inhabitants.
The figures, researched by health website Treated.com, put Glasgow in third place based on fast food outlets per head at one for every 4,230.
The city has 141 fast food chain outlets - the largest overall number in any town or city.
It also hosts the largest number of McDonald’s (22), Subways (35) and Gregg’s (36) in the country.
Edinburgh ranked just 7th on the list. Dundee followed in 8th place.
Cumbernald was also ranked as a “healthy” town. In spite of its location, just 18 miles north-west of
Livingston, and with a similar population sizes, Cumbernauld came in second-last place with one chain outlet per 6,395 of its citizens.
Tam Fry, a spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, said of Livingston’s high number of fast food outlets: “Local councils pleaded for the recent Queen’s Speech to help them curb chain restaurants opening anywhere they please. They wanted legislation to empower them to do so but to their fury their plea was passed over.
“The outcome is inevitable. They will find it harder to prevent fast food outlets becoming even more of a blight on high streets and targeting the poorest areas of any town, such as Livingston, with junk food.
“Scotland’s obesity problem will only get worse until such regulation is imposed “.
The study examined the numbers of seven popular fast food retailers in Scotland’s ten largest towns and cities.
By looking at the number of McDonald’s, Burger Kings, KFCs, Subway, Greggs, and Domino’s in comparison to the population, researchers were able to locate the nation’s fast food hotspots. Costa coffee outlets were also counted by researchers as fast food outlets.
Figures from 2013 showed that almost two-thirds of Scottish adults wereoverweight, with a staggering 27.1 per cent classed as obese.
Officials have put the official cost of obesity to the Scottish NHS as high as £600 million every year.
And earlier this year, a parliamentary report claimed that obesity could be costing the Scottish economy up to £4.6bn overall.
The research concentrated on big-name fast food chains and ignored independently-run chip shops and cafes.
Dr Wayne Osborne, who led the study, warned: ‘The main attraction of fast food chains is their convenience. They’re most often situated on the busy main streets, and for many they’re the safe, recognisable bet
in train stations and airports.
“But the simpler options aren’t always the healthiest. It’s no secret that fast food is generally high in saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol levels and blood pressure.”