SQUADS of fat fighters have been set up in Bolton in the battle against childhood obesity.

They will be sent into schools to keep a check on pupils.

Children will be weighed while they are in the reception class and also in Year Six - the last before they move on to secondary school.

Health and education chiefs want to build up a profile of childhood obesity.

The information they obtain will be used in deciding what further action should be taken to tackle the problem.

The appointment of the obesity surveillance teams follows the publication of figures which show one in four children under the age of 11 in Bolton is overweight.

Julie Holt, the local health service strategy co-ordinator, said: "There is a concern about the levels of obesity and the health problems associated with it. We would be remiss not to be concerned about the situation.

"The statistics collected by the surveilliance teams could be used locally to identify certain areas where there may be a problems and then direct resources into them."

She stressed the idea was to build up a general picture and not to identify individuals.

The move to send in health workers to monitor children forms part of a three-year action plan to improve the health and education of young people living in the borough.

Childhood obesity is just one area identified as a priority for improvement by Bolton Council schools and children's services executive.

Other targets include reducing teenage pregnancy, raising the numbers of pupils achieving five A* to C grades in maths and English, tackling substance misuse and bringing down the numbers of teenagers aged 14 to 19 who are not in education, employment or training.

Figures show that last year only 38 per cent of teenagers left school with five or more GCSEs which included the core subjects of english and maths Latest statistics also revealed that a record number of teenage girls became pregnant in Bolton - including one aged just 12. Bolton had the second highest increase among the 10 boroughs which make up Greater Manchester in the last six years.

To reduce teenage pregnancy education bosses examine ways of improving sex and relationship education and how to target young people identified as being at high risk.

Work will also be undertaken in schools and with parents to tackle substance misuse and schools will receive extra support in terms of resources.