The World Health Organisation yesterday dealt a blow to the soft drinks industry when it released a report that linked sugar in soft drinks and tv advertising aimed at children for a worrying rise in obesity worldwide.

The report also highlighted the dangers of obesity in fat intake and sedentary lifestyles.

The report, headed by Ricardo Uauy, professor of public health nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, claimed that should account for no more than 10% of energy consumption. The sugar and soft drink industry had always pointed to an older guideline from the National Academy of Sciences in the US of 25%.

The report, in particular, highlighted the problems of sugar consumption from sweetened soft drinks. And as far as advertising goes said: "Part of the consistent and strong relationships between television viewing and obesity in children may relate to the food advertising to which they are exposed.

"Fast-food restaurants and foods and beverages that are usually classified under the 'least eat' category in dietary guidelines are amongst the most heavily marketed.

However the president and CEO of The Sugar Association, Richard Keelor, PhD, raised strong objections to the emphasis on sugar in the WHO Report. Keelor said: "The preponderance of the recent scientific evidence exonerating sugar (sucrose) as a causative factor in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hyperactivity and dental caries has all but been ignored."