GLADSTONE is tipping the scales towards bad health with more than 25,000 residents battling the bulge.
A special APN investigation reveals the region's shocking health problem.
New University of Adelaide research shows 7159 men and 5465 women living in the Gladstone Regional Council area are obese, while 8232 men and 4907 women are overweight.
That adds up to a whopping 25,763, or 40.7%, of the region's 63,000 residents.
Gladstone has the 11th highest level of overweight residents across Queensland and the region sits at 21 on the obesity ladder.
The Banana Shire has the state's highest obesity and overweight burdens.
Weight-related health problems cost the nation's hospital system about $4 billion each year.
The shocking statistics follow the release of a study which found losing weight slowly was the only way to keep the pounds off.
The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology published a report that found people who lost the kilos rapidly regained them faster than those who shed weight over a longer period.
CQUniversity nutritionist Dr Susan Williams said small steps made a big difference in the battle of the bulge.
"We should be losing weight slowly," Dr Williams said.
"We've known this for 20-odd years or more but there's a problem because of the huge amount of media that says no it's okay that you lose five or six kilos in a week."
Gladstone food expert Meagan Leane said losing weight was about healthy choices.
"We aim for about a half a kilo of weight loss per week," the Gladstone GP Super Clinic dietitian said.
"And the changes that you need to lose a half a kilo a week are not huge.
"It's the difference between having a couple of Tim Tams to a plain biscuit a day."