Food and drink companies have pledged more than £200m as part of a joint initiative with the government to tackle obesity. A consortium of firms, including Coca-Cola and Pepsi, headed by the Advertising Association, have agreed to contribute funds in cash and in donations such as free air space and on-pack messages to the Department of Health campaign called Change 4 Life. The government-led campaign, which is aimed at encouraging people to eat healthily and exercise in the run up to the 2012 Olympics, will be launched in the autumn. The announcement follows a speech by Health Secretary Alan Johnson to the Fabian Society in which he talked about a “national movement for change” to tackle Britain’s growing problems with obesity. Johnson called on everyone, from individuals to businesses, including the heads of major supermarkets, to help people lead healthier lives. Johnson said: “Tackling obesity requires a much broader partnership, not only with families, but with employers, retailers, the leisure industry, the media, local government and the voluntary sector. We need a national movement that will bring about a fundamental change in the way we live our lives.” Baroness Buscombe, chief executive of the Advertising Association, said that involving the industry in the campaign would make it more effective than one run solely by the government. Lady Buscombe said: “Business is part of the solution to tackling obesity in the UK. Obesity is one of the biggest health threats facing Britain today. “Through this coalition, we are all making a strong statement that we are committed to working with government and the voluntary sector to transform the health of the nation and be a force for good.”