New figures yesterday showed almost 1,000 children were sent to hospital in the last three years over fears about their weight.
Shocking statistics show a fifth of four-year-olds are now overweight or obese – a problem estimated to cost the NHS £5billion a year for all ages. According to figures obtained using the Freedom of Information Act, 932 children under the age of 15 were admitted to hospital with a primary diagnosis of obesity.
They included 283 primary school-age children and 101 under the age of five.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust said it had admitted the 10-month-old for obesity in the past year, while Mid Staffs NHS Trust said a one-year-old girl was sent to it by a worried doctor.
At Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, there were 172 children diagnosed with obesity, while Great Ormond Street Hospital in London admitted 97 children.
Dr Mars Skae, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “I am increasingly being referred children as young as four years of age in our specialist obesity clinics.
“It is not unusual for me to see 18-stone teenagers in our clinic and this is extremely worrying.
“Childhood obesity is the foremost public health threat currently facing the young of this nation.”