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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 September, 2003, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
'Ban TV junk food adverts'
Boy eating a burger
Scots children are among the heaviest in the country
Junk food advertising should be banned during pre-school children's television, according to campaigners.

The Scottish Consumer Council has joined a UK-wide campaign following concern about rising levels of childhood obesity and health risks from fatty, salty and sugary foods.

The move follows a report by the International Association of Consumer Food Organisations which found that food advertising accounts for about half of all advertising broadcast during children's viewing times.

Three-quarters of the advertising was found to promote high calorie, low nutrient foods.

The report estimates that 20% of UK children are overweight, with Scots children among the heaviest in the country.

Young children are highly impressionable and they should not be exposed to the slick selling techniques of the food industry
Graeme Millar
Scottish Consumer Council
It said they had been gaining weight faster than children in England since 1972.

About 8% of three to four-year-olds in Scotland were estimated to be obese, rising to 15% of those in the third year of secondary school.

Graeme Millar, chairman of the Scottish Consumer Council said: "Childhood obesity is a worldwide problem and there are many solutions including encouraging young people to become more active.

"However it is also apparent that children are being bombarded with food advertising which is encouraging the adoption of unhealthy eating habits.

"Young children are highly impressionable and they should not be exposed to the slick selling techniques of the food industry when they are watching their favourite television programmes.

"It is time we took steps to protect children by removing these adverts from children's programmes."

The UK-wide campaign is being supported by more than 80 organisations including the British Heart Foundation, the Children's Society, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Food Commission.

BBC Scotland's Elizabeth Quigley
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