Parents who refuse to help their obese children lose weight are neglectful, researchers said today. While obesity alone is not a child protection issue, a "consistent failure to change lifestyle and engage with outside support indicates neglect", said the team, which included Russell Viner of the Institute of Child Health in London.

They said parental behaviour was worrying when the child faced high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes. Failure to act should be seen as a child protection issue when there is evidence of this behaviour "over a sustained period".