A Birmingham exercise expert has attacked new guidelines from the Govern-ment's health watchdog that could see children offered weight loss surgery.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) report focuses on the prevention and treat-ment of obesity in adults and children. It will be sent to NHS professionals, schools, local authorities, employers and town planners.
It suggests reducing the amount of time children spend in front of a TV or computer screen, increased active playtime at nurseries and a healthy diet and exercise ethos in schools.
Gastric banding, it said, although "not generally recommended for young people" could be considered in exceptional circumstances, but only if a child has "achieved or nearly achieved physiological maturity".
Professor Anton Wagenmakers, a specialist in exercise biochemistry at Birmingham University, said the guidance sent out the wrong message to parents and young people and he was astonished at the advice.
"It says 'okay, if they don't manage to control this by natural means, there's an alternative anyway', and I'm not sure if that helps tackle the problem," he said.
"Green spaces are slowly disappearing, Birmingham has cycle lanes but not one of them is maintained or are continuous.
"In schools, the time children spend doing PE has been dramatically reduced. It's not regarded as important. But it is the only opportunity for some children to get exercise."
Nice said there was a need "for urgent action" to stem the rising tide of obesity.
A Department of Health report published in August showed that a third of adults and a fifth of all children under 15 will be obese by 2010.
More than 12 million adults and one million children are expected to be obese.