According to YouGov, the on-line research company, a recent survey has revealed that 81 per cent of UK parents would like to see Vending machines removed from schools, and replaced with healthier alternatives as a means of helping to improve their child's diet.
The survey also found that 14 per cent of parents believed a general lack of exercise and Physical Education at schools were the main cause of rising levels of obesity amongst children, whist more than a quarter of parents believed targeting children with advertising and marketing campaigns was the most significant influence on what their children eat.
The British Hospitality Association (BHA), British Retail Consortium (BRC), Food Advertising Unit (FAU), Food and Drink Federation (FDF), National Farmers' Union (NFU) and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) said they would act together to try and tackle what is becoming an increasing cause for concern.
The food industry in the UK has come under heavy fire in recent months for promoting "unhealthy" foods to children, contributing not insignificantly to the growing incidence of obesity among British children.
The poll's findings come hot on the heels of reports that claim Britain is facing an obesity "timebomb", which experts predict could reach up to a quarter of British adults by 2010.
John Dunford, general secretary of of the Secondary Heads Association, defended the presence of vending machine outlets in schools, solely focusing on the financial benefit it brings. Some schools bring in an annual vending turnover of up to as much as £15,000 (€21,400).
Some UK schools have already begun to ban the machines, moving to stop the sale of sugary, fatty snacks and fizzy beverages, as with Reed's school in Cobham, Surrey where headmaster David Jarrett has already noticed a 'significant improvement in behaviour'.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) launched a discussion paper earlier this month on the effects of advertising on diets. Consequently, it could lead to a ban, or at least tougher restrictions on the advertising of fattening, salty and sugary products on TV and in stores.