The Food Standards Agency will this week call for tougher controls on the advertising of food to children.

At an open board meeting the key recommendation the FSA will consider is to how to redress the imbalance in TV advertising of food to children in favour of healthier options.

The meeting follows an extensive period of evidence gathering and consultation by the Agency, including commissioning a review of relevant research, holding public and stakeholder meetings and assessing the likely effectiveness of a range of possible actions.

The FSA will also suggest that industry should use promotions, such as free gifts or reduced prices, on healthier options aimed at children and celebrities should use their influence to encourage healthier eating.

FSA chair Sir John Krebs said: “The ticking timebomb that is childhood obesity is something that none of us can afford to ignore: schools, the government, regulators or the food and advertising industries.”

Responding to the FSA recommendations, Food and Drink Federation deputy director general Martin Paterson said: “The FSA will have a role to play in the Health Department’s pre-White Paper consultation, and the industry will discuss seriously their proposals.

“However, both Government and industry must be careful not to patronise consumers, telling individuals what’s right or wrong for them to eat.”