Children who are seriously in need of obesity treatment
could be taken into care if levels of obesity continue to rise, council chiefs have suggested.
According to the Local Government Association (LGA), youngsters who are severely overweight may be regarded as cases of parental neglect and referred to social services.
Town hall leaders warned that the number of cases in which local authorities step in is likely to increase as Britain's obesity epidemic worsens.
Cllr David Rogers, public health spokesman at the LGA, commented: "Councils are increasingly having to consider taking action where parents are putting children's health in real danger.
"There needs to be a national debate about the extent to which it is acceptable for local authorities to take action in cases where the welfare of children is in real jeopardy."
Health experts warn that one million children will be in need of obesity treatment by 2012.