Obesity is rising in children from poorer backgrounds, despite research showing that it may be levelling off in youngsters from affluent homes.
Data from the Health Survey for England, collected as part of the Government’s National Child Measurement Programme, found that obesity levels could be set to ‘increase considerably’ by 2015.
However, researchers added that people tended to be more wary of state intervention on matters such as their health when they were less well off.
Data from the programme also revealed that just less than a quarter of children start school overweight or obese, with drives to cut obesity having little impact over the past few years.
The researchers concluded: “If the trends in young obesity continue, the percentage and numbers of obese young people in England will increase considerably by 2015 and the existing obesity gap between manual and non-manual classes will widen further.
“This highlights the need for public health action to reverse recent trends and narrow social inequalities in health.”