CHICAGO: Leading US children's doctors have added their voices to calls for far-reaching curbs on advertising aimed at young people, believing it contributes to ills such as eating disorders and alcohol abuse.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is critical of the food and drinks industries, saying their "pervasive" ads influence youngsters to demand poor food choices, to think drinking is cool and anorexia is fashionable.

The want Congress and federal agencies to:

  • Ban 'junk' food ads during shows aimed at young children;

  • To halve commercial advertising to no more than six minutes per hour;

  • Restrict alcohol ads to showing only the product;

  • Prohibit interactive advertising to children on digital TV.
Critics of ad restrictions cry the right to free-speech. But the academy says Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium and Greece, among others, limit ads directed at children.

Data sourced from Washington Post Online; additional information by WARC staff