Coca-Cola's classic "Happy Holidays" truck should be banned to help combat child obesity, according to directors of public health. 

The truck is a festive favourite of many, visiting 44 cities up and down Britain in the weeks before Christmas and offering people the chance to have their photo taken and take away a free product. 

This includes a 150ml can of the standard fizzy pop which has 15.9g of sugar in it - more than 65 per cent of a 7 to 10-year-old's recommended daily allowance. 

Public health experts are concerned about the effect of commercial marketing schemes, such as the Coca-Cola truck, on childhood well-being. 

One health campaign accusing the brand of "hijacking Christmas" with "false gifts of bad teeth" and "weight problems." 

Food Active, a North West based anti-obesity campaign, organised a letter calling for the boycott of the Christmas truck which was signed by 108 people - including four public health directors. 

They are Dr Sandra Davies, Director of Public Health on Liverpool City Council, Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health, Blackburn with Darwen, Eileen O'Meara, Director of Public Health, Halton Borough Council and Dr Arif Rajpura, Director of Public Health, Blackpool Borough Council. 

A third of 10 to 11-year-olds in the area (34 per cent) are overweight or obese, and 33 per cent of five-year-olds have tooth decay which is largely down to the consumption of sugary drinks. 

The letter read: "We can celebrate without allowing Coca-Cola to hijack Christmas by bringing false gifts of bad teeth and weight problems to our children." 

Robin Ireland, Director of Food Active, said: "Let's get this straight, this is a company whose business is to shift sugary drinks and to make as much profit as they can. 

"Successful marketing by companies like Coca-Cola has meant that sugary drinks have a big part to play in our soaring obesity and type 2 diabetes figures. 

"In the North West many local authorities have launched programmes to raise awareness about sugary drinks and the Chief Executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens, has said the NHS is considering a ban on any sugary drinks sold in hospitals. 

"So this is the totally the wrong time to welcome Coca-Cola's marketing behemoth into our towns and cities. 

"Coca-Cola claim they do not market to the under twelves ... and I believe in Santa!". 

The Coca-Cola truck visited 5 cities in the North West and Mr Ireland went on to slam the media attention the tour gathered in the local press - with the Food Active letter not receiving any coverage at all. 

He added: "It is of huge concern that no alternative views were provided in the 
face of a concerted commercial marketing campaign by Coca-Cola."