PLANS for a crackdown on junk food promotions have received strong backing despite opposition from some in the food and drink industry.

Scottish Government proposals to restrict the advertising of products high in fat, salt and sugar received the support of 80 per cent of 247 respondents who took part in a recent consultation.

A ban on television junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed was also widely supported, as were restrictions on price promotions.

However the consultation divided opinion between those in the public health and charity sector, and among industry and business representatives, with just four per cent of the latter supporting marketing restrictions.

Food and drink businesses and organisations raised concerns about the impact on the industry and on consumer choice and called for better education rather than any changes in law.

Meanwhile those in the public health or charity sector urged the Government to go further, for example by banning all unhealthy price promotions.

Ministers are taking forward the proposals to tackle obesity, with two thirds (65 per cent) of adults in Scotland now estimated to be overweight and almost one third (29 per cent) classed as obese.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: “Obesity harms people’s health and it is clear we must take decisive action to end our nation’s damaging relationship with junk food.

“The responses to our plans show that people across Scotland agree and want to see strong leadership to support healthier choices by tackling factors that contribute to poor diets, such as the marketing of unhealthy food.

“Our plans for diet and healthy weight will sit alongside complementary strategies also being published this summer addressing other key priorities in improving health and tackling inequality, such as tobacco, physical activity, substance misuse and alcohol.

“Taking a multi-pronged approach will make a real and lasting difference to the country’s health.”

In reaction to the results of the Government’s consultation, Professor Linda Bauld, prevention expert at Cancer Research UK’s, said: “It’s good news to see such strong support in favour of restrictions on the price promotions of unhealthy food and we hope this gives the Scottish Government a clear view of what must be done to curb a weight problem that is damaging the health of so many people in Scotland.

“At a time when being overweight is responsible for around 2200 cases of cancer a year in Scotland, it’s vital that effective and strong action is taken.

“Helping people to make healthy food choices must be at the heart of the Scottish Government’s forthcoming obesity strategy. One of the most effective ways to do this is to introduce laws to restrict the tempting junk food price deals that are fuelling Scotland’s poor diet.”