The government has pledged £372m to fight obesity, including a £75m advertising campaign to encourage physical activity and £30m to create 'healthy towns' with extra parks and cycle lanes.

The move is part of the government's long-awaited obesity strategy 'Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives', unveiled yesterday by health secretary Alan Johnson.

As part of the strategy, the government will work with the food and drink industry to establish a Healthy Food Code of Good Practice - including proposals to develop a single, “simple and effective” approach to food labelling.

Obese adults will also be offered financial rewards or shopping vouchers for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Ofcom will also bring forward its review of the restrictions already introduced on the advertising of foods high in fat, sugar and salt to children.

"Tackling obesity is the most significant public and personal health challenge facing our society,” said Johnson. "It is not the Government's role to hector or lecture people, but we do have a duty to support them in leading healthier lifestyles. This will only succeed if the problem is recognised, owned and addressed in every part of society."