They are calling for the ban because they believe that current restrictions on television advertising during children’s programmes should extend to all adverts, including those in newspapers, magazines and on billboards, to stop an increase in the number of obese youngsters.
The experts said preventing an increase in the number of youngsters who are obese would also cut the risk of more people developing Type 2 diabetes.
Dr Scott Ramsay, lead organiser of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh event where the call was made, says: “Rates of obesity and diabetes are continuing to increase at alarming rates and pose one of the most serious health challenges of this time. In response to this situation, diabetes experts from across the UK have come together to call on the Scottish and UK governments to demonstrate greater leadership in tackling this crisis.
“In particular we believe that the lessons from effective legislation on smoking should be used to promote healthier diets, increased physical activity and to inform transport and planning policy. This should involve tighter regulation of the food and drink industry and the extension of restrictions on ’less healthy’ food and drink advertising in children’s television programmes to all forms of advertising aimed at children.”
Current laws came into force in January 2008, enforcing a total ban on adverts for unhealthy food and drink products around TV programmes for under-16s.
It extended similar restrictions which were in place for shows aimed at children under 10, and applied to food and drink adverts around all programmes of particular appeal to children under 16.