Young women in Britain are more overweight or obese than anywhere else in western Europe.
A global study published in The Lancet show 29.2 per cent of females under the age of 20 in the UK is overweight or obese.
Of the 22 western European countries studied, only Greece is on a par with the UK as far as girls aged 20 and younger are concerned, with a 0.1 per cent lower prevalence.
Professor John Newton, of Public Health England, said: "The levels of obesity in the UK - and indeed, across the world - are of great concern.
"The challenge of obesity is at the heart of current debate about the health of the nation and we are working closely with local authorities, the NHS and the voluntary and community sector to tackle this complex issue."