The rapid rise in child obesity may be levelling off, according to figures.
Experts looked at data forecasting levels of childhood obesity to 2020.
Analysis indicated a 17 per cent drop in the forecast number of overweight girls aged two to 11 and a 4 per cent drop in the expected numbers of obese girls of the same age.
There was a 5 per cent drop in the forecast number of overweight boys, and a 7 per cent drop in the forecast numbers of obese boys.
Public health minister Gillian Merron said: “The encouraging news that child obesity may be levelling off is thanks to the hard work of families, schools and the NHS across England, supported by government initiatives such as 5 A Day and Healthy Schools, which have overseen improvements to school food and school sport.
“We’ll only turn the tide on obesity for good if everyone - government, families and industry - play their part.”
The Change4Life Healthy Towns, launched a year ago this month, are Dudley, Halifax, Sheffield, Tower Hamlets, Thetford, Middlesbrough, Manchester, Tewkesbury and Portsmouth. The towns, which each received a share of a £30m government investment, have spent the last year creating opportunities for their local communities to become active and eat healthily.
Study leader Klim McPherson, professor at Oxford University and chair of the National Heart Forum, said: “These trends present a more positive picture that obesity may be levelling off in children. However, prevalence and current trends of excess weight are still unacceptably high and these figures should not be taken as an argument for complacency. The government needs to keep up the work they are doing to tackle obesity.”