Gym owners have fired back at a recent report outing Katherine as the most overweight and obese town in Australia.
"It is extremely rude and incorrect," Muay Thai expert David Flood said.
The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics puts Katherine well above the national average with 80 per cent of adults weighing in too heavy.
The findings show obesity rates vary dramatically depending on location and wealth.
But across the board, two thirds of Australians are now tipping the scales.
"I don't think we have any more of a weight issue than anyone else in Australia," Mr Flood said.
"Where did they get those numbers? I was never surveyed, and if they used BMI (body mass index) to come to that conclusion that is incorrect."
He said BMI (a method commonly used to estimate if a person is in a healthy weight range) does not take into account muscle mass, which weighs more than fat.
"Under the BMI I am classed as obese, but I am just muscle," he said.
"I own a gym and I see countless adults and children walk onto the mats each night. We have so much activity in Katherine."
The owner of Crossfit Emungalan Thynne MacFarlane was also quick to question the worrying data highlighting Katherine's weighty issue.
"Every town has health problems," he said.
Rather than seeing the issue as a Katherine problem, it was a pressing epidemic plaguing Australia.
Although, he conceded the Northern Territory's laid-back lifestyle, tied with a heavy drinking culture and extreme heat are contributing factors to Katherine's new label.
The lack of access to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables coupled with a decline in sport uptake were more so worrying in Katherine.
"The lifestyle up here is unhealthy, drinking heavily is the norm and so is eating for convenience," he said.
"I have had people move from down south and come to the gym very fit and in two months they have stopped exercising and the changes are visible."
Growing up in the region, he said the sporting culture has taken a hit in recent years as teams scramble to maintain players.
"People aren't committed to their teams anymore, it is either too hot or they don't have time with work, so they aren't exercising.
"But the heat isn't going anywhere, the easier you take life the harder it gets."
The critical report was released ahead of World Obesity Day, last week, by the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University.
Professor Rosemary Calder said a policy change was needed at every level of government to address the epidemic, but especially rural and disadvantaged communities.
She said it ultimately came down to environment and socioeconomic status.
"We have spent too long as a nation expecting individuals to be able to change their behaviour to reduce their weight," Professor Calder said.
"However, the evidence is very clear that this has little chance of success without a very strong focus on the environmental factors in the places where we live that contribute to poor nutrition and inactivity."
The divisive data showed clear differences in weight, with affluent suburbs recording the lowest rates of obesity.
Nedlands, a wealthy western suburb of Perth, recorded just 12.8 per cent of its adults as obese.
Professor Calder said it was no surprise Australia's city suburbs had the lowest rates of obesity.
"These suburbs are usually green and leafy, with more space dedicated to parks, gardens and recreational facilities," she said.
"They often are well serviced by public transport, bike paths and are relatively close to where people work which enables people to be physically active in their commute to work, rather than rely on the car.
"They have a greater density of shops selling fresh fruit and veg, greater competition promoting lower prices for healthy foods and fewer fast food outlets."
She said people in wealthier suburbs tend to have better access to health education as well as the financial means to access healthy food options and enjoyable physical activity.
A national preventive health task force is an essential first step in the right direction, she said.
"It is vitally important that governments at all levels focus on collectively addressing the impact of where we live on our health.
"Local governments are critical to local planning and the creation of healthy and active spaces for their residents. However, they are often hampered by lack of funding and regulatory power."
More broadly, she called for a closer look at Australia's policies around sugar and salt content in processed foods.
"The UK, for example, has successfully supported significant reductions in the salt content in processed food, a major contributor to poor health, particularly in low socioeconomic communities," she said.
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