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Professor Mike Kelly, of the health watchdog Nice, has said it is difficult for obese children to lose weight without help from their families.
Speaking on Daybreak, he said that spiralling obesity was to blame for a range of childhood diseases that were not seen in children several decades ago.
Data in a report from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence shows:
- Children with at least one obese parent are more likely to become obese themselves
- Up to 79% of children who are obese in their early teens are also likely to remain obese as adults, putting them at risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer
- In 2011 in England, around 30% of boys and girls aged two to 15 were either overweight or obese
- In the 2011/2012 school year, around 23% of children in reception and 34% in year 6 were either overweight or obese
The new guidance is intended for health professionals and those who provide specialist weight management services for children.
The guidance stresses it is "important it is to ensure the family and the child or young person recognise and accept that they are overweight or obese.
"Conversely, a lack of recognition or denial that the child or young person is overweight or obese can hinder uptake and adherence to a lifestyle weight management programme."
Many overweight and obese children and young people may have, or come from a family with, a "history of failed attempts to manage their weight", the guidance goes on.
A family's attitudes towards diet, exercise and the amount of time spent being sedentary should all be explored, it added.
More needs to be done to tackle the "obesity timebomb" in children, including identifying families who are in denial about their child's weight, experts say.
New guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) says parents and children must be encouraged to face up to the fact obesity can lead to health problems in later life.
It says: "Efforts to manage a child or young person's weight are not always supported, and are sometimes undermined, by members of the wider family.
"This is possibly because of a lack of understanding of the aims of lifestyle weight management programmes and the importance of managing the weight of obese or overweight children and young people."