The government is to stop funding the £75m Change4Life advertising campaign aimed at tackling obesity.
The decision comes as an Office of National Statistics report suggested that the number of people classified as obese had risen from a sixth to a quarter.
Tam Fry, a board member at the National Obesity Forum, told the Today programme that the move was a mistake.
"The government is saying to industry, 'if you give us money to run our campaigns, we will take away the threat of regulation or legislation,' which is very much needed in this country," he said.
But Ian Barber, of Business 4 Life, welcomed the decision, saying it was time the issue was tackled through "people choosing what's best for them, rather than dictating to them what's best for them".
"Business can be part of solving this problem, rather than being stigmatised as the sole cause of it," he added.
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