WEIGHING IN: Nine-year-old Wong Min-hin weighs 49kg at 1.38m. Obesity is becoming an ever-bigger problem in developed countries. Picture:Reuters

Pupils should be forced to stand at their desks in a bid to tackle the obesity crisis, according to a health campaigner.

Dr Rangan Chatterjee, who appears in BBC1’s Doctor in the House, also said children should be encouraged to squat rather than sit during assembly.

Research has shown using a standing desk for three hours a day, five days a week, can burn 30,000 calories a year.

Standing desks have been trialled at a handful of schools, including Kewstoke Primary in Somerset, which bought three last year.

Dr Chatterjee, who has two children aged seven and five, told the Sunday Telegraph sitting for six hours a day was bad for children’s backs as well as their weight.

He said: ‘I want to see standing desks in schools as normal. I also want to encourage children to squat rather than sit.’

The doctor – part of a group of experts and MPs lobbying Downing Street over obesity – also wants a ban on selling sugary drinks to under-16s.

Figures show one in three under-15s is overweight or obese. Ministers are said to be reconsidering a pledge to halve childhood obesity by 2026. It was replaced last year by a vow to ‘significantly reduce’ it.