One in four people over-65 in Britain are clinically obese, shocking NHS figures reveal.

Now experts are calling for the sugar tax levied on fizzy drinks to be extended to help stem the epidemic.

Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said lack of exercise as well as sugary foods were creating an army of bloated oldies – nearly three ­million of them 65 and over.

He also blasted lack of official action.

Mr Fry said: “All the British governments this century have failed to take on the food industry and have failed to ensure all food at your local supermarket is as free a possible from excess sugar, fat and salt. Those ingredients are increasingly in a whole variety of foods.

High levels of salt and sugar in supermarket foods are a contributing factor to the obesity stats

“Something like 82 per cent of all the food you find in a supermarket has sugar in it.”

The findings, released to Parliament this week, show 1,857,000 of those aged 65 to 74 are obese along with 1,073,000 aged 75 and over.

Mr Fry added: “Exercise is so ­important to burn off excess calories. The majority find that as they grow older weight creeps up and stays on because they haven’t the ability or inclination to take exercise.”

He added: “I’m 82 and I will need 45 minutes of exercise a day, whereas 15 years ago I would only need half an hour, because the exercise I can do is less intensive.”

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He said it was vital to widen the sugar tax from just fizzy drinks, where it had worked: “Within two years only two of 29 brands of cola met the highest level.”

But he said the long term answer is to educate youngsters: “We’ve got 25 per cent of kids overweight or obese when they go to school aged four. You can see the root of the problem.”

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