Darlington is to host a pilot scheme to improve health in the workplace.

Several businesses across the town are taking part in the project, set up by Darlington Primary Care Trust (PCT).

The scheme will focus on encouraging healthier food to be served in office canteens, and on trying to get staff to become more active, by walking or cycling to work.

Stress in the workplace is also an issue tackled by the scheme, and employers will be asked to consider flexitime to improve staff working hours.

Catherine Bleasdale, PCT project manager, said a healthy workforce would lead to lower absence rates and a more energised staff.

"By taking relatively simple measures, the health of the staff can be improved many fold and a host of illnesses can be staved off," she said.

"We are really looking forward to getting businesses in Darlington on board."