Fastfood subsidiaries of Yum! Brands are offering free gym membership to customers who request it during the next four weeks.

Fastfood establishments have for some time been under pressure to show that they can be part of the solution to the obesity time bomb and not only part of the problem. The most conventional response has been to increase the number of better-for-you options on the menu, although some companies have also taken measures to encourage customers to take exercise. McDonald's, for example, gave away pedometers in its UK restaurants to customers who purchased the Go Active! adult Happy Meals.

Visitors to Yum! Brands subsidiaries Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken will get a four-week membership of a health club. They will be able to choose between 400 health clubs operated by Bally Total Fitness.

Launched at a time of year when many people resolve to get fit and shed the excess pounds piled on during the festive season, the offer could meet a warm reception.

Yum! Brands said in a statement on its website: "The holiday fitness gift is aimed at helping individuals lead a balanced lifestyle including: placing "Keep it Balanced" lifestyle posters in restaurants along with nutritional brochures, posting downloadable nutritional information on-line including an activity calculator and providing menu options."