Betty's hotpot might be a favourite dish among the residents of Coronation Street but it is being blamed for encouraging unhealthy habits in soap fans.
Bad eating and drinking habits seen on screen in pubs such as Corrie's Rovers Return, EastEnders' Queen Vic and the Woolpack in Emmerdale, have been criticised by health insurance company BUPA.
The company's Dr Sally Cubbin said viewers could be influenced by their favourite soap characters and urged writers to improve the health of residents of Walford, Weatherfield and Emmerdale.
"Some of the most loveable characters are also some of the unhealthiest," she said.
She said characters such as Barry Evans from EastEnders and Fred Elliott from Coronation Street were risking heart disease and cancer because of their bad diets. And she said Jack Duckworth, who had a heart attack three years ago was ignoring doctor's advice and continuing to eat fry ups, smoke and drink.
"While it's great to see the characters sharing gossip and news in the pub, viewers often see the whole cast gathered around the bar, supping away both at lunchtime and in the evening," said Dr Cubbin.
"Lunchtime drinking may briefly relieve work stress but if the characters are back in the pub after work they're probably spending too much time with alcohol in their systems.
"As the soaps are in a powerful position to influence people, a few more characters to demonstrate the benefits of a healthier lifestyle could go a long way to encouraging us to take better care of our health."
Soap's least healthy characters
- Janice Battersby (Coronation Street)
- Fred Elliott (Coronation Street)
- Terry Woods (Emmerdale)
- Jack Duckworth (Coronation Street)
- Jim Branning (EastEnders)
- Kat Slater (EastEnders)
- Barry Evans (EastEnders)
- Pat Butcher (EastEnders)
- Les Battersby (Coronation Street)