Two children from Cornwall have been taken into care in the past five years because they are morbidly obese, statistics have revealed.
Figures obtained by the Daily Mirror show the youngsters were among up to 74 nationally who have been put into care because their excessive weight caused major health concerns.
According to the newspaper, 183 children under 11 in England, Scotland and Wales have been recorded as weighing more than 16st in the last three years.
Eight were more than 20st and the heaviest weighed 23st 2lb.
This week figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show there has been a 12 per cent rise in the number of under-16s admitted to hospital for obesity in the last year.
Across all ages, obesity admissions across England were lower for every age group except the under-16s and those 65 and over.
Using Freedom of Information laws, the newspaper approached 206 local authorities in Britain with responsibility for child protection.
Of the 128 councils that provided usable responses it was found that between 26 and 46 morbidly obese children were taken by social services.
The newspaper reported some authorities only provided approximate figures in an effort not to identify the children concerned so the exact number is not known.
The paper suggests, when accounting for the authorities who failed to provide usable information, the actual number of youngsters taken into care for being morbidly obese over the five years in question could be as high as 74.
Social services removed the children from their families for their protection because their excessive weight caused major health concerns.
Cornwall Council confirmed the two children were taken into care but said there were other factors in both cases.
Jack Cordery, head children's early help, psychology and social care services at Cornwall Council said: “We can confirm that two children were taken into care where obesity was a factor.
“It is, however, important to emphasise that the children’s obesity was only one factor in these cases. We do not want anyone to feel that just because a child is obese that there is a risk that their child would be taken from them.”
Mr Cordery added: “It is also important to emphasise that the admission of older children into care is often with the consent of parents/carers and that the young person’s views are also taken into account.
“Research shows that childhood obesity is linked to serious health problems in later life. If parents or carers feel that their child is overweight, or indeed underweight, then we would urge them to seek medical advice about healthy eating and exercise from their health visitor or GP.”