The Ontario government is setting up an expert panel to tackle childhood obesity.

The aim is to reduce the obesity rate by 20 per cent over five years.

About one-quarter of Ontario's children aged two to 17 are too heavy.

Dealing with the problem early is considered key to cutting health issues linked to being overweight later in life.

Health Minister Deb Matthews says the idea is to give kids the "best possible start in life."

The 17-member Healthy Kids panel will be co-chaired by Alex Munter, CEO of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and Kelly Murumets, CEO of Participaction.