Mexico City: Mexico said it will restrict TV ads for soft drinks, snacks and other high-calorie foods in a bid to tackle rampant obesity.

With immediate effect, such ads will be banned from open air and cable TV from 2:30 pm to 9:30 pm (local time) during the week and from 7:00 am to 7:30 pm (local time) at weekends.

Ads in movie theatres will also be restricted.

In total, 40 per cent of advertising seen until now each year for soft drinks and other high-calorie products will vanish from Mexican TV, the health ministry said yesterday.

The government says 70 per cent of Mexican adults and 30 per cent of children are overweight or obese. Mexico is the world's largest consumer per capita of sugary drinks, at 163 litres per year.

The Mexican diet is also heavy in fried foods. Mexico also has the highest incidence of diabetes among the 34 countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The direct or indirect cost of weight problems will cost the public health care system USD 11.7 billion in 2017, experts say.

In an earlier effort to tackle the scourge, late last year the government slapped taxes on high-calorie foods and drinks