Restaurants and takeaways are to be incentivised to add healthier options to their menus by the prospect of reduced business rates.
The measure is one part of a government plan to tackle childhood obesity.
It sees trials with five local councils, which will each receive £100,000 a year over a 3-year period to help test and refine ideas for addressing childhood obesity and health inequalities.
Planned programmes include a scheme by Blackburn and Darwen council to work with local restaurants and takeaways to adopt healthier menu options, for example by offering a discount on business rates, free waste removal and subsidised advertising.
Birmingham City Council, meanwhile, is to offer health, food, nutrition and physical-activity focused apprenticeships for 15 to 19 year olds in deprived areas, where obesity rates are highest. Bradford will partner with local mosques to support South Asian children – who are at a greater risk of obesity – by providing places and fun ways to exercise, alongside healthier food.
The work is part of the government’s Trailblazer programme, which aims to identify further steps that could be taken to enable local action on childhood obesity.
Public health minister Seema Kennedy said: “Every child deserves the best start in life – communities need to come together to play their part in helping the next generation to be healthy and active. Prevention is at the heart of our NHS Long Term Plan, but a one-size-fits-all approach does not work in public health.
"These pilots are rightly rooted in the needs of the communities they serve and I look forward to seeing what benefits this grassroots approach has on our nation’s obesity problem."