More than one in four children aged between two and ten is oveweight or obese, according to a report from the National Audit Office, the Healthcare Commission and Audit Commission.
The report warns that if the trend of childhood obesity continues, the cost of obesity could be £5 billion by 2010. Figures show that levels of childhood obesity were 9.6 per cent in 1995, rising to 13.7 per cent in 2003. The proportion of children who were overweight or obese rose from 22.7 to 27.7 per cent in the same period.
The report warns that the Government is in danger of missing its target to halt childhood obesity by the end of the decade. It claims that a lack of national and regional leadership has failed to improve youngsters' diet and activity levels. Zoe Harrison, Care Adviser at Diabetes UK, said: "This report confirms a very worrying trend in today’s youth. The link between obesity and Type 2 diabetes is well documented. Around 80 per cent of people with diabetes are overweight or obese at diagnosis. Although the condition usually affects adults over 40, it is estimated that up to 1,000 children have Type 2 diabetes in the UK." She added: "Type 2 diabetes in children is already recognised as a major problem in the United States. Unless our children start eating more healthily and doing more exercise, the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in children will only increase."