Children are fatter than ever before, official figures showed yesterday.
Almost a third of youngsters between two and 15 are overweight, including one in six classed as clinically obese.
This reflects a 50 per cent increase in the proportion of children with weight problems in less than a decade.
Experts saw the figures as further proof that Britain is facing a child obesity epidemic. It is so severe that a generation of youngsters could be outlived by their parents.
The Department of Health figures also show, however, that nearly one in four adults is obese compared to less than one in six ten years ago.
‘Child obesity has got to a critical point,’ said Amanda Wynne, of the British Dietetic Association.
‘We have been talking about tackling the problem for 20 years. We need to get serious and invest the necessary effort and resources to tackle it now.’
The Health Survey for England, carried out by the National Centre for Social Research, says 22 per cent of men and 23 per cent of women are now obese - up from 13 per cent for men and 16 per cent for women in 1993.
Overall around two thirds of adults are overweight. A third of the 16-to-24 age group are overweight, with nine per cent of young men and 12 per cent of young women obese.
Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD