A LABOUR MP has blamed schools for a trend in obesity among children and teenagers.
Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe, whose constituency includes Kirkburton and Denby Dale, was visiting the first community-based weight loss clinics for children, which have been set up in Leeds.
The Commons health select committee chairman praised the clinics but denounced modern lifestyles and a climate of fear among parents for encouraging obesity.
"The way we've lost it on school sports is a big, big factor. If children get an hour a week they're lucky," he said.
He added that children did not get enough outdoor leisure time due to indoor entertainment such as the internet and computer games and because parents worried about letting their children out.
He added: "There have been massive changes in society and now we see the consequences."
Mr Hinchliffe said he was "delighted" to be visiting the Watch It clinics, which were set up by Leeds University consultant paediatrician Dr Mary Rudolf.
He said: "This is an urgent issue and our visit will contribute to the Government's thinking on how the problem of obesity should be addressed across the country."
Dr Rudolf, whose research has shown that one in three 11-year-olds in Leeds is overweight, added that she was very excited about the interest the clinics were receiving.
"We believe we're developing an effective approach to helping overweight children and teenagers tackle their weight," she said.