BBC presenter Steph McGovern has hit back at criticism of the favourite dish of her hometown of Middlesbrough, the parmo.

The breaded chicken and bechamel sauce delicacy has been blamed for high obesity rates because it supposedly has more than 2,000 calories per portion.

The Northern Echo:

Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Monday, Steph said: "You don't eat them everyday. This is what you would have maybe at the end of a night out, so they sell them in pizza shops and places like that.

"I appreciate if you do eat them every day you are going to have an obesity problem.

"There are problems with obesity in the North-East and they had said in this research that Year 6 pupils were the worst in the North-East region and when the guy from the obesity campaign group was asked about it he said ' I can answer it in two syllables 'it's the parmo'.

"That's such a simplistic view because let's face it, I eat my parmos on nights out and I don't see many ten-year-olds on nights out in Middlesbrough."

She was praised by host Dan Walker for her staunch defence, but Steph said: "It's actually more a defence of my hometown than the delicacy because I hate it when we get these lists that say we are the worst at things and we blame some ridiculous takeaway rather than looking at the roots of the problem."