Carat, Manning Gottlieb OMD, Mediaedge CIA and Naked will compete for the communications planning with Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel, EHS Brann, Partners Andrews Aldridge and Tullo Marshall Warren vying for the direct marketing.
The pitch process will last two months.
The campaign, exclusively revealed by Campaign (25 January), aims to motivate people to lead healthier lives. It hopes to communicate the threatening effects of obesity such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
The campaign comes as the government looks to create a “social movement” in partnership with advertisers, agencies, the food and drinks industries, media, parents and voluntary groups.
Further agencies including ethnic minority marketing, sponsorship and digital agencies are expected to pitch later this year.
Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said: "This is an exciting opportunity for talented agencies to get on board and really do something new and radical to create a cultural shift in our lifestyles.
"It's a real challenge to change people's eating and exercise habits so the agencies will have their work cut out. We're looking for highly talented, creative teams to come and work with us."