Being overweight is increasingly seen as the norm, England’s chief medical officer says.
In her annual report on the state of health, Dame Sally Davies said this was concerning, pointing out many people did not recognise they had a problem.
Parents of overweight children were also failing to spot the signs too, she said.
Dame Sally blamed the way weight was being portrayed by the media and clothes industry.
“I have long been concerned that being underweight is often portrayed as the ideal weight, particularly in the fashion industry.
“Yet I am increasingly concerned that society may be normalising being overweight.
“Larger mannequins are being introduced into clothes shops and “size inflation” means that clothes with the same size label have become larger in recent decades.
“And news stories about weight often feature pictures of severely obese people, which are unrepresentative of the majority of overweight people.”
Dame Sally also reiterated her belief that a sugar tax may be necessary to combat obesity.