A FORMER minister has it out at his government’s own strategy to tackle childhood obesity.

Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, questioned the logic of banning advertisements featuring products high in fat, salt or sugar from children’s television.

Pointing out that more children were watching programmes online rather than through terrestrial TV, he compared it to “shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted”.

Instead, Mr Tomlinson pushed for more holiday sports clubs and cookery lessons. He told the Swindon Advertiser: “I’m really passionate that we as a a nation need to tackle childhood obesity. However, to simply focus on advertising fails to understand the root causes of the issue.

“The government’s priority should be to provide the maximum opportunities for young people to be active, which is why I want to see school facilities opening up after school and during holidays for sports camps and schools to have the opportunity to offer basic cookery skills so that their generation is equipped to eat a balanced diet.”

“The government’s focus on this vital issue is too narrow if it’s simply an advertising solution.”

His comments followed a response by digital minister Margot James to questions about what impact a 2017 ban on fatty food ads was having.

Ms James said the government had commissioned a £5 million childhood obesity research unit. One of the topics they had been charged with was looking at the impact of marketing on childhood obesity.

The latest government figures show that in 2016/17, a third of 10 and 11-year-old children in Swindon were classed as obese or overweight.