A third of primary school pupils are now obese

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MORE than a third of all Wigan primary school-leavers are obese or overweight, shocking new research has claimed.

It means that 1,240 of this summer’s 11-year-olds have a worrying health problem, the British Heart Foundation says.

Carrying excess weight into adulthood increases the risk of developing heart disease in later life.

And from the BHF figures, 35 per cent of Wigan children who leave primary education this year already carry that risk - a figure higher than the North West average of 34 per cent.

The BHF this week called for a ban on all junk food TV advertising before 9pm, as part of the Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy, to help improve children’s health.

Millions of children across the UK are being exposed to junk food adverts during popular shows such as the X Factor and Hollyoaks.

Analysis by the BHF shows that weak regulations are creating loopholes that mean that food companies can advertise junk food - high in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt - during programmes watched by children in Wigan.

Shockingly, 13 junk food adverts were shown during just one X Factor show last year, promoting unhealthy snacks such as crisps, chocolate bars and pizzas to the children watching before 9pm.

Mike Hobday, Director of Policy at the BHF, said: “It’s worrying that so many children in Wigan are obese or overweight. Carrying excess weight into adulthood increases the risk of developing heart disease in later life.

“We mustn’t allow food companies to continue to exploit a failing regulatory system that allows them to bombard TV screens with junk food adverts at the times when the highest numbers of children are watching TV. We need to protect young people against the sophisticated marketing techniques of advertisers to help tackle the obesity crisis.”