Picture: Reuters

Children are losing up to 20 years of healthy life because the Government is failing to tackle youth obesity, medical leaders have warned.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) have criticised ministers’ ‘piecemeal’ approach to preventing long-term illness.

This includes a failure to impose a ban on junk food adverts or prohibit take-away outlets opening up near schools.

The RCPCH – which represents 17,500 doctors, nurses and other health experts – says many children are growing into obese adults and developing diabetes.

A third of children are overweight or obese at 11, and the rates are creeping up despite Government promises to reduce them. Among adults, 62 per overweight or obese including just over half of pregnant women.

A report by the RCPCH today states that although the Government has taken some steps – including introducing a tax on sugary drinks – the health of youngsters has remained ‘largely unchanged’.

Professor Nina Modi, the College’s president, said: ‘As a nation we’re not winning this battle.

‘An obese child is very likely is to remain an obese adult. An obese adult is at risk of losing between ten and 20 years of healthy life, as well as the fact that life expectancy will be reduced as well.

‘We want girls and young men to be planning parenthood with a healthy weight and ... lifestyle.’

Professor Russell Viner, RCPCH officer for health promotion, said: ‘Child health isn’t being given the political attention it deserves in Westminster ... While policies such as the soft drinks industry levy and new tobacco control plan are to be applauded, the approach is piecemeal.’

Daily Mail