CHILDREN across Scotland consume almost 4.4 million soft drinks a week – the equivalent of more than 600,000 a day – new research has estimated.

The figures, produced by Cancer Research UK, prompted demands for Scottish ministers to change the law to crack down on supermarket multi-buy offers on sugary drinks, many of which are sold as part of bulk buy deals.

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevent expert, said this would help by “deterring families from stocking up on drinks that are doing so much damage to our diets”.

Health campaigners had used data from the 2015-2017 Scottish Health Survey to calculate the number of soft drinks – including fizzy drinks, energy drinks and diluting juice with added sugar – that youngsters were consuming.

By applying the frequency at which these were consumed to the number of children aged between two and 15, they estimated youngsters across the country drank 627,288 of these a day – amounting to 4,391,015 a week.

The figures did not include diet drinks, low calorie or no added sugar drinks, or fresh fruit juices.

Official NHS figures for the school year 2016-17 found almost a quarter (22.9%) of pupils in P1 were at at risk of being either overweight or obese.

While the UK Government has introduced a so-called “sugar tax” on soft drinks, Professor Bauld insisted more could be done.

She said: “The Scottish Government must take action by introducing laws to restrict the multi-buy offers on junk food and sugary drinks.”