A report to be published today warns that Ireland is in the throes of a global obesity pandemic which is threatening the wellbeing of children and their future health as adults.

The report contains information from four separate studies conducted in Cork and Kerry, as well as a review of literature on childhood obesity.

It does not specify the exact prevalence of childhood obesity in Ireland. That will be done by the National Task Force on Obesity which is due to issue its findings in the coming weeks.

Instead, today's report examines the home and school environments which, it says, are crucial in deciding whether a child develops good or unhealthy eating and exercise habits.

The studies found that 40% of primary schools surveyed have banned running in the schoolyard.

Most children have less than 40 minutes exercise at Physical Education class every week, and almost a quarter of primary schools are reportedly lacking adequate indoor PE facilities.

At home the studies indicate that family preferences are for sedentary pastimes, with a third of eight-year-old children surveyed having a TV in their bedroom.

The report concludes that home and school environments are currently facilitating a childhood obesity epidemic in Ireland.