Coca-Cola has scaled back its annual Christmas truck tour after protests from public health campaigners.

The drinks giant will stop at a third fewer locations on this year's tour, which has been welcomed by councils and shopping centres since 1995.

The tour kicked off in Glasgow and will visit 24 stops, down from 38 last year. Pressure has grown on Coca-Cola and other drinks manufacturers over the level of sugar in their products which campaigners say contribute to rising levels of diabetes and childhood obesity.

A 330ml can of Coke contains 35g of sugar, about the recommended daily intake for people aged 11 or older.

The group has coordinated a letter calling on the company to only hand out sugar-free beverages.

Signatories include the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, World Cancer Research Fund International, the Royal Society for Public Health and 27 local councils.

The group points out that 14 of the 19 stops in England have higher than average levels of obesity among 10 and 11-year-olds.

Last year, the truck was embroiled in controversy, with Liberal Democrat councillors calling for it to be banned from Liverpool due to fears it encouraged the drinking of sugary drinks, contributing to an “obesity epidemic”.