Health officials are poised to push for a “pudding tax” covering cakes, biscuits, sweets and other sugary snacks amid warnings that Britain’s sweet tooth is fuelling its obesity crisis.It comes as new figures show the average child has consumed 18 years’ worth of sugar by the time they reach the age of 10.Manufacturers have been set targets to cut the sugar content of common foods, but have so far made little progress – with puddings actually becoming more sugary.Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England (PHE) said officials will tell ministers that further action – including taxes – is needed, if the next set of results, due in the Spring, does not show a significant improvement.She told The Telegraph: “We will be very clear to Government if it is not good enough. We would be saying that other actions are needed.”A pudding tax could work in a similar way to the ‘sugar tax’ on soft drinks which was introduced last year and placed a levy on drinks with a high level of added sugar.The food industry was told to cut sugar content in common foods by a fifth by 2020. Dr Tedstone defended the plans – which have met a significant backlash – suggesting that consumers would be unlikely to notice changes to the portions and formulations of their favourite foods.She said: “We have seen portion sizes getting bigger and bigger. Research shows that people tend to eat what they are given. If you are given a slightly smaller pizza you don’t notice.” Last year’s figures – the first since the targets were introduced – showed a fall of just 2 per cent, against a first year goal of 5 per cent, with no changes in the sugar content of chocolates or biscuits, while puddings became even sweeter.“Puddings were going in completely the wrong direction,” Dr Tedstone said, saying the “jury was out” on whether this year’s results, due in spring, would show sufficient improvement.The government’s childhood obesity strategy has already warned that “mandatory and fiscal levers” could be introduced if the food industry does not make sufficient changes.“We were pleased to see that,” Dr Tedstone said. “If progress isn’t made in the categories within the sugar reduction programme, that would be the obvious place to start.” It follows warnings that severe obesity in ten-to-eleven year olds has reached a record high – with almost one child in 20 now classed this way.One in three primary school pupils is overweight or obese by the time they leave school. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Last week The Telegraph revealed new calorie caps drawn up by PHE, which would reduce the content in thousands of meals sold by restaurants and supermarkets.The proposed limits for 2,024 would mean sandwiches are capped at 550 calories, with a limit of 544 calories for any ready meal and a maximum of 951 calories for a restaurant main meal. Suggested swaps include low sugar yoghurts, instead of split pot versions with fruit corners, replacing juices with added sugar with those without it, and swapping sugary breakfast cereals like frosted and chocolate flakes for low sugar options. Malt loaf, sugar-free jellies, lower-sugar custards and rice puddings are among the snacks being backed by health officials.National data shows that the average child consumes the equivalent of around eight excess sugar cubes every day.The government’s health advisors recommend that children aged between four and 10 have a maximum of five to six sugar cubes a day – between 19 and 24 grams.But the analysis from the national diet and nutrition survey shows that on average, those this age are consuming more than 52 grams of sugar daily.The intake amount to around 2,800 extra cubes per year – with the average child consuming at least 138 kilos of sugar by the age of 10.If consumption was in line with recommended limits, they would not reach this point until they were 18. The categories include breakfast cereals, yoghurts, cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolate, ice cream and sweet spreads. Overweight or obese children are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults, increasing the risk of heart disease and some cancers.Earlier this year research found soaring cases of Type Two diabetes among young children, including those as young as nine.Two decades ago, the condition – which is fuelled by obesity – was only found in adults.Shoppers are being encouraged to look for the Change4Life “Good Choice” badge in shops, download the free Food Scanner app or search Change4Life to help them find lower sugar options.Popular brands – including Nestlé Shredded Wheat, Nestlé Low Sugar Oat Cheerios, Petits Filous and Soreen (malt loaf) – will display the badge online, in-store and throughout their advertising. She said the plans remain at an early stage, although officials have indicated that action could be taken to ensure manufacturers comply with the proposals if they do not take sufficient voluntary action.Last month, the chief medical officer hit out at manufacturers and retailers, saying attempts to encourage voluntary cuts in sugar and salt content had failed.Dame Sally Davies called for the introduction of a slew of extra taxes on sugary and salty foods, in a bid to persuade manfacturers to reformulate foods, or face extra costs.“We have to shape it so that it’s easy to take the healthy choice. Do you want to call that nanny state? If so I am chief nanny,” she said, as she made the call.The new Change4Life Sugar Swaps campaign will encourage families to “Make a swap when you next shop”. The campaign will see the release of new TV, radio and digital advertising.