Obesity hits one in 25 primary school children

More than 22,000 children will leave primary school dangerously obese this year

More than 22,000 children will leave primary school dangerously obese this year

Almost twice as many children in year six are classed as severely obese as those in reception, figures show.

Councils need more planning powers to be able to limit junk food billboard adverts near schools, according to a new report calling for a joined-up approach to tackle childhood obesity.

Dr Modi Mwatsama, of the Obesity Health Alliance, said: "This is a superb report that reflects what obesity campaigners have always been saying - the United Kingdom is in the midst of an obesity epidemic and the Government must take strong measures to tackle childhood obesity if we're to prevent this spiralling beyond control".

"Unless we tackle this obesity crisis, today's obese children will become tomorrow's obese adults whose years of healthy life will be shortened by a whole host of health problems including diabetes, cancer and heart disease".

Some 58 leaders from councils, health organisations, academia and the food industry have signed the letter on behalf of charities Healthy Stadia and Sustain's Sugar Smart campaign asking football associations to "take action" to protect children from exposure to food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS). MPs also turned their eye to "extra-free" promotions which encourage consumers to order more food to be restricted.

Supermarkets should also be forced to remove confectionery and other unhealthy snacks from the ends of aisles and checkouts. There has been criticism that the sugar tax only pertains to soft drinks and excludes milk-based drinks.

Improve calorie labelling on the out-of-home food sector.

One point the report makes is that there should be systems in place for identifying and supporting children who are overweight and obese in ways that can be applied to their home lives as well as at school.

While a Department of Health spokesperson said its plan to tackle childhood obesity was "the most ambitious in the world".

Sustain campaigns co-ordinator Sofia Parente said: "Football leagues, associations and clubs are scoring an own goal when it comes to commercial partnerships with junk food brands".

Dr Sarah Wollaston, Conservative MP and chairwoman of the committee, said: "Children are becoming obese at an earlier age and staying obese for longer". The recommendations come in the committee's latest report into childhood obesity.

The need for a "whole systems" approach which requires the United Kingdom government to change the narrative around the issue and ensure we take responsibility as a nation.

"The government needs to further help reduce childhood obesity by introducing tougher restrictions on the marketing and advertising of junk food, including by bringing in a 9pm advertising watershed".

The Health and Social Care Committee's report may cause the government to put increased pressure on schools but, with funding so tight, is this possible?

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