Ministers are set to place much greater emphasis on exercise as a means of halting the rise in obesity among children.

The Department of Health has circulated the first draft of its Social Market Strategy, which contains ideas for encouraging healthier lifestyles.

Key action points in the document, which is at the early consultation stage but has been seen by The Grocer, relate to food - such as moves to reduce portion sizes and cut levels of "unhealthy snacking". But there is also a focus on physical activity.

One suggestion is to "decrease parental perceptions of traffic danger to children" so children are allowed out to play more.

The food industry welcomed what looks like a greater shift by the government towards a calories-in, calories-out strategy to reducing obesity.

Andrew Opie, food policy director at the BRC, said: "In the past the government has been slow to realise the importance of encouraging activity - it has been the Cinderella of the healthy living campaign. There needs to be a concentration on food, our members accept that, but it's just one part of the equation."

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