Denmark’s Consumer Council (CC), with the support of the Social Democratic Party, is demanding an end to television advertising for unhealthy foods aimed at children.

The campaign echoes recommendations from authorities in neighbouring Sweden and Norway, where TV advertisements for children are banned and additional efforts are underway to stop the promotion of junk food.

Camilla Udsen from the CC’s food policy division said that Denmark should lead the way in the European Union and “protect children from the marketing of unhealthy food and drink”.

Media experts doubted that such a measure would have much effect, with one immediate likely result being to chase advertisers to TV stations that transmit from outside of Denmark and would therefore be exempt from Danish law.

Professor Birgitte Tufte from Copenhagen Business School told newspaper Politiken that such regulations would at least create an ad-free oasis for children.

Food Industry Union consultant Dorthe Pedersen doubted that legislation would help Danish children lose weight. “They have a ban in Sweden but their children look like the Danish. There is no major difference in weight,” Pedersen told Politiken.

The confirmation of the Council’s aims comes after a recent study showing that advertisements for candy, soft drinks and crisps during children’s programming on Danish station TV 2 had dropped by 40%.

Denmark’s food industry approved an advertising code of caution regarding the promotion of unhealthy food towards children in 2004.