A food cooperative is being established in Lichfield in a bid to combat the high levels of health problems within low-income families, by encouraging more healthy eating habits.

District councillors explained that action was needed to help people make better food choices and enable their bodies to fight illness.

Meanwhile, county council bosses in Staffordshire have been urged to launch a similar scheme after a survey of thousands of youngsters found that many are living on chips, chocolate and fizzy drinks. A fifth of those questioned between 13- and 16-years-old ate either no breakfast or an unhealthy one.

The report, commissioned by the council and carried out by Manchester Metropolitan University, commented: "The initial feedback on these studies suggests there is an important role to be played by the county council consumer services in supporting health promotion and the eradication of food poverty in the area.