Director of Prevention Alison Cox said: “We must give children the best chance for a healthy future. Measures like the sugary drinks tax can make a difference and the government must press ahead with this vital measure.
“But there is no silver bullet and more action is needed. The government has already recognised the influence of junk food marketing on children’s health by banning junk food advertising during children’s programmes – it’s time to close the loophole during family viewing time.”
Higher risk of cancer
Obese children were about five times more likely to become obese adults, leading to a higher risk of cancer as well as other diseases, said the charity.
Being overweight or obese is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK after smoking, according to Cancer Research UK and contributes to about 18,100 cases of cancer each year.
Thirteen types of cancer – including bowel, breast and pancreatic – are linked with being obese or overweight.
‘Too much weight’
“It is concerning to know that so many children start secondary school – formative years in a child’s life – carrying too much weight,” said Cox.
Meanwhile, the International Sweeteners Association said: “While levels are plateauing in some countries and regions, the absolute numbers for childhood obesity continue to rise.
“Over 223M schoolchildren worldwide are overweight or obese and this number is expected to rise to 268M by 2025, unless we act now.”
It urged the use low calorie sweeteners in food and drink, to help people manage their weight and limit energy intake.