The White Paper on public health will be published today and will set out the Government’s plans to tackle the growing health concerns of obesity, drinking and smoking.

John Reid, the Secretary of State for Health, is expected to call for voluntary restrictions on television advertisements for junk food before 9pm, with the added threat of a ban if food companies do not comply.

The problems associated with being overweight or obese are estimated to cause 30,000 deaths a year and chronic conditions linked with being overweight threaten to overload the NHS.

The NHS also faces an annual bill of £95m to treat alcoholism and related diseases and the average Briton is reported to be drinking 50% more alcohol than in 1970. Measures to combat binge drinking will also be included in the White Paper.

The report is also expected to include an arrangement under which smoking would be banned from eating areas in pubs and restaurants within 12 months and extended to bar areas in three years. But smoking will still be allowed in public houses that do not serve food.

Further reports on the White Paper will follow later this week, including a report in this week’s edition of The Grocer published on November 20.