New figures today show the startling severity of the childhood obesity crisis.

The West Midlands has some of the most overweight children in the country – with one in 14 now classed as “severely obese” in parts of our region.

A shocking seven per cent of 10 and 11 year olds measured in measured in 2016/17 were severely obese and a further 26.7 per cent were obese in Wolverhampton – the highest rate of severe obesity outside London.

New data from a national child monitoring programme shows that Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall, Coventry and Dudley also all have rates above the national average of 4.1 per cent – or one child in 25.

Overweight Boy aged 6-8 pinching fat around his waist

In Sandwell 6.2 per cent of 10 and 11 year olds were severely obese while in Walsall it was 6.1 per cent, in Birmingham 6 per cent, in Coventry 5.6 per cent and in Dudley 4.9 per cent.

The NHS classes a child as “severely obese” if their body mass index (BMI) would have put them in the top 0.4 per cent when a national scale was set up in 1990.

Roughly it equates to a BMI of 25-26 for a boy or 26-27 for a girl.

For an 11-year-old boy of average height (4ft 10in) to have a BMI of 26 he would have to weigh 125lbs, while an average-height girl (4ft 10in) would have to weigh 130lbs to have a BMI of 27.

Throughout the UK, Barking and Dagenham has the highest proportion of seriously overweight children, according to the data.

A total of 7.8 per cent of children in the London borough – around one in 13 – were classed as severely obese in 2016/17.

Southwark (7.2 per cent) and Hackney (7.1 per cent) – also in London – were next, with Wolverhampton fourth and Sandwell in ninth.

Wokingham in the south east of England had the lowest rates of severe obesity – only 1.5 per cent of 10 and 11 year olds were put in that category last year.

Nationally, the data found that the poorest 10 per cent of children were more than twice as likely to be severely obese as those in the richest 10 per cent.

It also showed children of Black Caribbean heritage were the most likely to be severely obese – 9 per cent fell into that category.

Chinese (3.0 per cent) and Indian (3.7 per cent) children were the least likely.

Boys (4.8 per cent) were more likely than girls (3.3 per cent) to be severely obese.

The figures are published as part of the National Child Measuring Programme, which runs in all schools in the country.

AREAS WITH THE HIGHEST % OF CHILDREN CLASSED AS SEVERELY OBESE IN 2016/17

1 Barking and Dagenham: 7.8%

2 Southwark: 7.2%

3 Hackney: 7.1%

4 Wolverhampton: 7.0%

5 Greenwich: 6.7%

6 Brent: 6.7%

7 Lambeth: 6.6%

8 Waltham Forest: 6.3%

9 Sandwell: 6.2%

10 Slough: 6.2%