In the latest bid to curb rising obesity levels in the UK, Coca-Cola is to remove its advertising from vending machines in Scottish schools.

In what is thought to be the first agreement of its kind in the world, Coke has forged a deal with the Scottish Executive to replace its branding on the machines with images of young people on urban streets. The cola giant's fizzy drinks will still be on sale inside, but water and fruit juice will be available as well.

Scottish food and health supremo Gillian Kynoch, who negotiated the deal, said that Coke was eager to make the changes because it had already noticed that more children were drinking water. The company decided that offering a choice of beverages was preferable to an outright ban on selling fizzy drinks, a move advocated by some health campaigners.

"It's obvious that children are already moving to drinking other things and we just needed to push things along a little faster, particularly in schools," said Kynoch.

The news was welcomed by Stephen Ladyman, the British government's minister for health and social care, who insisted there were no plans for a "blanket ban" on the sale of sugary soft drinks in schools.

"We hope to work with schools and the food industry to bring in constructive changes," he declared, adding that ministers hoped the lessons learnt in the Scottish scheme could be applied elsewhere in the UK.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff