More than a quarter of children aged between two and 10 are overweight or obese.

More than a quarter of children aged between two and 10 are overweight or obese.

Weight problems among the under-11s have risen by 5 per cent in the past eight years and have more than doubled in two decades.

The statistics were published in a Department of Health report using data from the official Health Survey of England.

Children's weight is measured using complex version of the adult Body Mass Index (weight in kg divided by height in metres squared), adjusted for age and sex.

Overall, 27.7 per cent of children between two and 10 are considered overweight, including one in seven boys and one in eight girls who are classed as medically obese.

Despite government pledges to tackle the issue, rates of obesity have increased among all the age groups of children over the past eight years.

More than one in 10 (11.2 per cent) of two- and three- year-olds is now obese, according to the report.

The biggest increase was among children aged eight to 10, with obesity prevalence rising from 11.2 per cent in 1995 to 16.5 per cent in 2003.

Boys and girls from the most deprived areas of the country and those with overweight or obese parents were significantly more likely to suffer from weight problems themselves.

The lowest obesity rates were in Yorkshire and the South-east, while the highest levels were found in the North-east and London.

Dr Ian Campbell, of the National Obesity Forum, said: "These statistics are very worrying indeed."

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