CHILDHOOD obesity figures in Weymouth and Portland soar to an all-time.

According to newly released figures from the NHS National Childhood Measurement programme, 33.7 per cent of primary school leavers in the borough are overweight or obese- up three per cent from last year.

The study revealed that 20.8 per cent of children starting school in the area are overweight.

This figure increases to a third by the time children reach year six at 10 or 11 years old, and of those 17 per cent are classed as obese.

The figures for Weymouth and Portland are comparatively much higher than West Dorset at 21.3 per cent and North Dorset at 21.1 per cent, while figures in East Dorset are below the 20 per cent mark.

As a whole, the county has seen a marginal decrease compared to the statistics for last year, with the percentage of overweight and obese children decreasing from 23.4 per cent to 21.5 per cent.

In spite of lower figures recorded in Dorset, the number of overweight children in the South West has also reached an all-time high, in line with the national trend.

Jenny Makin, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for the South West, said: “The region has hit a record high for childhood obesity.

“The trend over the last decade is showing no signs of slowing down, and this worrying news is something that could have been prevented with more Government action.”

“The government still has a chance to save lives. It has already recognised the influence of junk food marketing on children by banning junk food advertising during children’s programmes, now Cancer Research is urging the government to remove junk food advertising from TV before the 9pm watershed.”

As levels reach staggering new heights, there is a growing pressure on central and local government to introduce programmes to reverse the trend.

Cllr Rebecca Knox, cabinet member for health, wellbeing and communities at Dorset County Council, said: “We want to see the numbers of people with excess weight fall. We live in a fantastic place with plenty of opportunities for people to enjoy the natural environment. Some simple small steps, such as walking to school and exploring nature, can make a big difference.”

Councillors and staff from local councils across Dorset came together earlier this year to discuss how all organisations involved in supporting families and young people could do more.

Cllr Knox added: “We have recently launched our physical activity strategy and have supported dozens of projects through the Inspired by 2012 Health and Wellbeing Fund.”