The Department of Health has appointed a group of experts to produce a strategy to tackle the rising levels of obesity amongst Irish adults and children.

It is expected to lead to a major public health campaign on the issue, similar to the anti-smoking campaign of recent months.

Obesity levels have increased by almost one third in the past four years, and recent surveys show that one in five Irish boys and girls are overweight.

Experts believe the increase is due mainly to lack of exercise, and the growing consumption of convenience foods.

The Department of Health's task force of experts is set to report back on the issue by the end of the year.