Cadbury has come under fire from parents and dieticians for a new marketing drive whereby wrappers from its confectionery can be exchanged for sports equipment to be used in schools.

The Cadbury Get Active £9m marketing scheme - endorsed by minister for sport Richard Caborn - and promoted with the Youth Sport Trust through schools was dubbed “absurd and contradictory” by parental watchdogs, the Food Commission.

The FC claims that almost £40 would need to be spent on chocolate - which it equated to over a kilogram of fat and more than 20,000 calories - to earn a single netball worth about £5.

The British Dietetic Association said the promotion went against all public health messages. And added it was running an Eat Fit campaign to warn children of obesity. Its research has shown that 31% of children are overweight and 17% are obese.

Food and Drink Federation deputy director general Martin Paterson said: "The drop in children's levels of activity has been identified as one of the key factors in increasing obesity and schemes that encourage healthy active lifestyles can make a real contribution to children's health."

The FC criticised Cadbury for “choosing not to reveal the sugar content of their products on its labels, but describing it, along with any starch content, as healthy sounding carbohydrate”.