torchBritain is guilty of ‘mass neglect’ of childhood obesity by failing to build on the Olympic legacy, according to doctors.

Promises were made in the run-up to London 2012 to get an increasingly overweight population of children exercising more regularly but despite the event's positive reception, Britain continues to lag behind the rest of Europe on obesity levels.

Dr Richard Weiler, from University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Despite the well accepted benefits of physical activity and the recognised importance of schools in delivering the physical activity opportunities, the erosion of physical education in schools combined with ever reducing play facilities has the opposite effect."

His fellw experts said Britain struggles in comparison to our European counterparts when it came to children’s health and PE and activities should be increased in schools.

Their criticism comes as figures show only a third of boys and a quarter of girls in England meet the minimum recommended daily physical activity levels. One in three children leaving primary education is obese, they warned.

There is no statutory minimum requirement for schools to devote a specific amount of time to PE and the report suggests that the Olympic promise that school playing fields would be protected from being sold off to developers has not been kept.

Dr Weiler concluded: "Failing to meet children’s basic physical needs is likely to result in the serious impairment of their health and development. This is quite literally indistinguishable from the government’s own definition of child neglect."