Plans to address the way foods are promoted to children were finalised yesterday by the Board of the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The Board agreed that steps needed to be taken on the promotion of foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt to help improve the balance of children’s diets.

The FSA noted that the promotion of foods via television advertising and other means had a great influence on children’s diets, and it also made clear that steps needed to be taken to encourage more physical exercise.

The various measures listed included the installation of ‘healthy’ vending machines in schools, promotions by the food industry to encourage children to eat healthy food and better signposting of nutritional food on supermarket shelves.

The measures also included greater nutritional guidelines for children’s food ranges and action to address television advertising of foods aimed at children.

One of the ideas posed at the food industry was to use celebrities or cartoon characters to encourage children to eat healthier foods. Alternatively, it was suggested that promotions such as free gifts or tokens associated with healthy foods may be a good option.

Sir John Krebs, chairman of the FSA said: “Too many foods aimed at children are too high in fat, salt and sugar. Parents want to give their children healthier diets and its not always clear what the healthy choice may be at the supermarket, in a restaurant or at school.”

The FSA will also be working with education departments to establish methods of improving the nutritional content of school meals and to offer healthier options.