Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced earlier the month that the food and drink industries would be asked to help pay for the Change4Life anti-obesity initiative in exchange for no new regulation on unhealthy foods.
A YouGov survey found that 42% of the public supported the proposal, while 44% opposed the plan.
However, the majority (69%) of respondents agree that the government should introduce regulation to make food manufacturers reduce the fat or salt content in their products.
Almost half (52%) disagree with the idea of implementing a “food tax”, similar to the additional duty added to alcohol and tobacco with 41% in agreement.
Lansley has also said that responsibility for public health should not rest completely with government.
The survey found that 69% feel that the government should not be solely responsible for telling the public what they should and should not eat.
Two-fifths (40%) think parents should take responsibility for teaching children healthy eating habits.
YouGov polled 2,019 adults between 8 and 9 July.