The prime minister is set to announce new measures to curb obesity next week, and they are expected to include a ban on TV junk food adverts before 21:00.
It comes amid growing evidence people who are overweight or obese are at greater risk from coronavirus.
The measures are yet to be finalised but are also likely to include a ban on online ads for unhealthy foods, and limits on in-store promotions.
But one food industry leader said the move was a “slap in the face”.
The move marks a change in stance by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has previously criticised levies on foods high in salt, fat and sugar – and described his views on tackling obesity as “libertarian”.
Mr Johnson’s experience in intensive care during his treatment for Covid-19 is thought to have contributed to his changing position.
Speaking during a visit to a GP surgery in east London, he said that while he was not normally one for “nannying or bossying”, the country did need to lose weight to protect from a second spike.
He said: “Obesity is one of the real co-morbidity factors. Losing weight, frankly, is one of the ways you can reduce your own risk from coronavirus.”