A NEW campaign has been launched by Cancer Research UK to help tackle rising levels of childhood obesity.

Research has found around one in three youngsters in Scotland are overweight or obese when they start primary school.

To help tackle the problem, the cancer charity is launching Junk Free TV, urging the UK Government to ban junk food advertising from screens before the 9pm watershed in a bid to protect children’s health and reduce their risk of developing cancer in later life.

Children aged between eight and 12 from six schools, including two in Scotland, were questioned about two different junk-food ads.

They used words such as tempting and addictive to describe what they had seen with one saying they wanted to lick the screen.

A primary five girl from North Lanarkshire said: “It makes you as feel if you’re happy and excited and it feels like you want to try it because the guy is dancing in it because he’s eaten it and it tastes good.”

A youngster from an Edinburgh school admitted she had nagged her mum to get chocolate for the first time after seeing an advert and her mum finally gave in.

Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s cancer prevention expert based at Stirling University, said: “Children in Scotland are seeing adverts for junk food that make them feel hungry and influence what they eat.

“It is also clear from the research that these adverts prompt children to pester their parents for products after seeing an advert."

“Marketing is driving this and people in Scotland understand that, with almost four in five adults supporting restrictions on junk food advertising during the hours when children are most likely to see this type of promotion.”

Alison Cox, the charity’s director of prevention, said: “The rise in childhood obesity is a huge concern and a growing epidemic. There must be no delay in taking action.

“We know obese children are around five times more likely to be obese adults and obese adults are more likely to develop cancer.

“That is why we need regulations to stop junk-food advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed to give children in Scotland and across the UK a better chance of a healthy life.”