Claims by the Medical Research Council say that many parents do not even realise their children are overweight.

The explanations flow thick and fast, with busy lifestyles, irregular working hours and fears that having a healthy lifestyle is too difficult to achieve, putting parents off healthy choices.

Stand them against the growing popularity of all things inactive like computer games, television and internet, and the answer is your children cannot afford to develop a poor attitude towards physical activity if they wish to lead a healthy adult life.

Experts claim that improving diet and fitness are key to tackling and preventing childhood obesity and poor health and as such, parents have a critical role to play in encouraging children to adopt physical activity for the rest of their lives.

The more a child is led to incorporate physical activity as a part of their normal lifestyle in younger years, the more chance they have of developing a healthy attitude towards maintaining an active lifestyle in later life.

Introducing physical activity at an early age increases self-esteem and capacity for learning, helps children handle stress, helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints and helps control weight.

Chair of the Sports Council for Wales, Philip Carling, says:

"Parents can have a huge influence on levels of physical activity among our nation’s youngsters. What levels of activity they encourage now, can have serious and profound repercussions on their child’s health in later life.

"Children who grow up being positively encouraged to take up physical activity or sport on a regular basis throughout their childhood, are far more likely to lead and maintain a healthy lifestyle as adults."