18/02/2013 15:27 GMT

Call for Obese Children To Be Offered Stomach Surgery

Obese children should be offered stomach surgery in an effort to help them reduce their weight to safer levels, a leading doctor has said.

Professor David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said radical measures were needed to tackle the "desperate situation" of childhood obesity.

Professor Haslam said that 'radical measures are necessary to start saving lives'

He said some children were experiencing medical problems more commonly expected in the over-50s as a result of their obesity.

Prof Haslam told Channel 4 News: "Obesity is a massive problem, it's a major concern both in adults and in children.

"The problem with obesity in children is that is leads to problems such as diabetes, which is alarming.

"This used to be a problem seen in the over-50s and seeing it in children is frankly shocking.

"There is also high blood pressure, asthma and joint pains and it is getting worse.

"In my 25 years as a GP I've seen the problem escalate to dramatic proportions and I'm seeing more and more obese and overweight kids.

"Radical measures are necessary if we are to start saving lives because for some obese children it is a desperate situation."

He said not enough children were offered operations because current commissioning guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) deny under-16s the option.

Prof Haslam's comments came after an influential medical group demanded that fizzy drinks be taxed, fast food outlets near schools limited and new parents given specific advice on how to feed their children properly to help tackle spiralling levels of obesity.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC), which represents nearly every one of Britain's 220,000 doctors, is pressing ministers, councils, the NHS and food organisations for action on what it calls "the greatest public health crisis affecting the UK", the Guardian said.

In a report the AMRC said doctors from across the medical profession are united in their concerns, and criticised the present and previous governments for insufficient and ineffective attempts to tackle the problem.

One in four adults in the UK is obese, figures say, a number expected to double by 2050.

Doctors fear the obesity crisis is becoming "unresolvable", and are calling for society "as a whole" to act before it becomes irreversible.