Attempts to cut childhood obesity have had little impact, according to a new study which shows the amount of schoolchildren who are overweight has not changed in recent years.
Before they begin school, nearly one in four boys and over one in five girls are found to be overweight, according to the NHS Information Centre study.
These figures rise by the time the children leave primary school aged 10 or 11. By this point, 35% of boys and 31% of girls are found to have weight problems.
Under the Government’s National Child Measurement Programme, 90% of schoolchildren in reception and Year 6 were weighed and measured in the 2008-09 school year.
Overall, more overweight children were found in Year 6 than reception, with percentages of 14.3% and 13.2% respectively.
Betty McBride, policy and communications director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The fact more than one fifth of children are obese before they start school is a shocking reality, especially as childhood obesity can lead to health problems in later life, including heart disease - the UK’s biggest killer.
“While the desire to stop the clock on this ticking timebomb is there, it needs to be backed up by actions if it is to have any impact.”