Michael Nelson, head of the Government organisation which promotes healthy eating in schools, said: "It's clear that obesity in children remains a huge public health problem. Good school food and access to cooking skills for children and their families are common sense ways to help children maintain a healthy weight.
"Yet the majority of children in England are still taking packed lunches to school which are typically higher in energy, fat, sugar and salt than school food, and too many families who qualify for free school meals are not signed up. Switching to school lunches would help many children to improve their diet and energy balance.
"School food has been transformed in the last few years and many schools are working hard to cut queues and to upgrade canteens and kitchens. The figures are a reminder of the challenge still ahead to help children maintain a healthy weight, and of the role that school food and the curriculum can play in this."
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