One in 10 children in Britain will be obese by 2015, a new study has predicted.
In fact, according to the study, if current trends continue, 10.1 per cent of boys and 8.9 per cent of girls aged between two and 10 will be obese within six years.
The childhood obesity epidemic is being blamed on "supersize" portions, lack of physical activity and the increased consumption of sugary drinks, fast food and sweets. But another cause, less often discussed, is poverty.
"If trends continue as they have been between 1995 and 2007, in 2015 the number and prevalence of obese young people is projected to increase dramatically -- and these increases will affect lower social classes to a larger extent," the 'Daily Express' quoted epidemiologist Dr Emmanuel Stamatakis, of University College London as saying.
The prevalence of obesity among children from manual worker class households will be 10.7 per cent for boys and 11.2 per cent for girls, compared with 7.9 per cent for boys and 5.4 per cent for girls from non-manual households, the study has predicted.
The "fat gap" between rich and poor is the result of food poverty -- a term used to explain why those on low incomes often can't provide a healthy diet for their children.
Poorer families are also sometimes resistant to health messages aimed at changing their lifestyle. In 1995, child obesity levels stood at just 3.1 per cent for boys and 5.2 per cent for girls. By 2007, they had risen to 6.9 and 7.4 per cent respectively.