Coca-Cola Co has teamed up with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and announced plans to launch a campaign designed to make adolescents more physically fit.

The world's No. 1 soft drink company, which has been the target of criticism in the past for being a factor in obesity in children in the US, said the campaign was called "Step With It".

It will encourage around 50,000 middle school students across the US to make exercise part of their lives in the next year by challenging children to take a minimum of 10,000 steps a day to maintain good health.

Those who participate will be given a special device to track the number of steps taken, Coca-Cola said. The program will be introduced in schools in Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

"Coca-Cola has worked all over America for years to develop relationships that help schools meet critical needs," said Jeff Dunn, president and chief operating officer of Coca-Cola's North American division.

Perhaps unsurprisingly arch rival Pepsi is also planning a similar drive, this time aimed at encouraging adolescents to participate in more after-school physical activities.

PepsiCo's "Get Active, Stay Active" programme targets students in grades 7 through 12 and would be backed with a non-commercial advertising campaign.