Primary care trusts will be forced to commission more weight management services in an attempt to meet growing demand, the government has warned.

In the£372m obesity strategy Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives, published last week, the government promised extra funding to help PCTs achieve this.

The strategy also promised a toolkit for the effective commissioning of such services and a widening of the number and types of professionals able to refer overweight and obese children to weight management services.

The strategy says the government will develop a Let's Get Moving resource pack for GPs and practice nurses in an attempt to help sedentary adults become more active. It also sets out other ways to improve adults' lifestyles, raising the possibility of financial incentives being paid to people to encourage them to live more healthily.

Health secretary Alan Johnson said: "Tackling obesity is the most significant public and personal health challenge facing our society. [The strategy] will only succeed if the problem is recognised, owned and addressed in every part of society."

The government has earmarked an extra£75m for a marketing campaign to support parents to make changes to their children's diet and increase levels of physical activity - some of which could be allocated to PCTs.

Media industry regulator Ofcom has been asked to bring forward the review of the restrictions on advertising unhealthy foods to children. Originally planned for the end of the year, the findings will now be published in September.

The government has also made a further attempt to introduce a single system of nutritional food labelling.

Mr Johnson said he wanted "a single, simple and effective approach to food labelling, used by the whole industry".

And councils will be urged to use their planning powers to prevent fast-food outlets setting up near schools.

However, Faculty of Public Health president Alan Maryon-Davis said the government needed to put more emphasis on local obesity services. "To address this problem there need to be better services at local level, not just in weight management but also in lifestyle support. The NHS needs more community dieticians, exercise advisers and practice nurses to give the right support," he said.

"NHS professionals also need more training in how to give the advice and support people need to change their lifestyle."

Obesity strategy in bite size

  • Review of junk food advertising rules

  • Industry-wide agreement on universal food labelling system

  • PCTs to commission more weight management services

  • Incentives to encourage weight loss

  • Fast-food outlets near schools and parks to be limited

  • Personalised support via NHS Choices website

HSJ's Tackling Obesity conference is on 26 February, www.hsj-tacklingobesity.co.uk