Fears over rising obesity levels are helping entrepreneurs flourish in a new fitness industry aimed at children.

Ex-LA fitness operations director Jeremy Taylor - who is now part of the fledgling children's fitness firm ActivKids - criticised the Government for doing little to promote fitness in schools, but businesses had an opportunity to fill some of the gap.

He said: "I think everyone is aware of the issue of childhood obesity, but I don't see anyone doing much about it," said Mr Taylor.

"The UK has the fastest growing rate of obesity in the developed world.

"We need to get kids interested in fitness and primary school is a great place to start."

Mr Taylor (right), who will be speaking at the Growing Your Own Business exhibition and conference at Birmingham's NEC this Friday, was introduced to ActivKids when its founder James Porter approached LA Fitness.

Mr Porter was in discussions with the health group when the company was sold to US venture capitalist firm Mid Ocean Partners in 2005.

When Mid Ocean chose to focus on the core business, Mr Taylor and brand director Zoe O'Donnell joined ActivKids to launch it as a national franchise.

Now the business has 13 franchises each covering approximately 30 primary schools.

Services included activity sessions both during and after school, children's parties and assembly talks on nutrition and the benefits of exercise.

With 22,000 local authority primary schools in the UK there is also a big potential market for child fitness classes.

But Mr Taylor, who does not draw a salary from the firm, said a lack of funding from government for schools in poorer areas was a potential barrier to solving the obesity issue and to business growth.

"In some areas parents can not afford to pay for their children to join ActivKids.

"Of course, there are affluent areas in just about every part of the UK, so we can still grow the firm into a good medium-sized business, but we would welcome government subsidy that allowed poorer areas access to ActivKids.

"Around £9 million has been put aside for activities during the extended school day, so there is an opportunity there for some of that to filter down to us.

"But of course it would be good if government did more to tackle obesity in young people."