Combating child obesity can become easier with the constant weight measurement of children during their school life, a campaigner has said.
Children usually gather any excess weight in their final three years at primary school, the Child Growth Foundation suggested.
Tam Fry, honorary chairman of the Foundation, called for the National Child Measurement Programme to be extended to younger children, including those at pre-school age.
“The Government was advised as long ago as 2004 to implement this but refused to do it,” said Mr Fry.
“We have to know when the early signs of unhealthy weight set in so that prevention measures can be put in place before weight becomes a problem.”
The latest Health Survey for England (HSE) showed primary school leavers had put on 20% more weight in a generation since 1990.
Almost a quarter of the boys and above a fifth of the girls were overweight or obese at the beginning of their school life, Government figures released earlier this month revealed.
Around 35% of boys and 31% of girls aged 10 and 11 in their final primary school year also faced weight problems, the figures showed.
The figures registered little change in recent years, which suggests a failure of measures to tackle child obesity.