A SCHOOL plans to open a single-storey gym for its pupils.

Worcester Sixth Form College, in Spetchley Road, intends to construct the activities centre next to the music department block.

The caretaker's home used to be on the site however the building has been demolished and the area is currently an overgrown garden.

The planning application to Worcester City Council states that there is a demand for the facility among pupils and also raised the prospect of sharing the gym with students from Nunnery Wood High School.

Cllr John Smith, the county council cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "I think it's a good idea.

"There's lots of students there and it gives them the opportunity to improve their fitness.

"Keeping active is good for the heart, lungs and the whole body. Anything we can do to encourage people to exercise is good.

"We have a problem with school age obesity. There's a lot of obese children in all levels of school these days.

"Lots of it is down to lack of exercise and poor eating habits. It's a national problem."

Cllr Smith blamed the obesity crisis on the increasing number of fast food outlets and growing popularity of ready meals.

He said: "As busy families, people tend to go for fast food or ready meals.

"Any opportunity to burn off that fat is welcome."

The councillor also said that gyms are more fashionable than ever and will appeal to students at the school.

He said: "There's many things you can do at the gym now.

"There's all sorts of exercises and groups. I've got two daughters in their 40s. They are obsessed, they have to go to the gym every day.

"It's good for links with other people."

NHS figures released in October found that more than a third of Worcestershire's 10 to 11-year-olds were overweight or obese.

Worcestershire County Council previously warned that obese children were more likely to suffer from poor self-esteem, bullying and tooth decay.

Obesity can also cause further problems when kids grow up, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

David Elliott, health and wellbeing programme manager for Public Health England West Midlands, previously warned that the figures were a 'wake-up call' and encouraged local action.