FOOD DRINK NUTRITION DIET: CALORIES: EXERCISE EQUIVALENT :
FOOD LABELING :
COUNTRIES: GREAT BRITAIN:
Food Labels Should Include Exercise Needed to Burn off Calories,
U.K. Researchers Suggest
Simple graphics showing exercise time could be effective tactic
for fighting obesity, says British researcher
By Kas Roussy,
Posted: April 06, 2016 6:30 PM ET
Last Updated: April 07, 2016 1:29 PM ET
More than two-thirds of people in the U.K. are either overweight or obese, and Shirley Cramer is hoping to curb that trend.
She’s the chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health in London and wants food labels to include information on how much exercise is needed to burn the calories the food contains.
It is called “activity-equivalent calorie labelling,” and Cramer has written a commentary on the subject in the current edition of the British Medical Journal.
“Consumers take about six seconds to make up their mind about a product,” she told CBC News.
Many people find nutritional labelling “too confusing” because labels are often loaded with all kinds of information that can be difficult to make sense of.
So, suggests Cramer, why not grab their attention with a catchy graphic illustrating just how much physical activity you’ll need to do to burn off the calories you’ll pack on by consuming the product.
For example, if you eat a blueberry muffin that has 265 calories, you’ll have to walk it off for 48 minutes. If you’re more of a runner, that’ll take 13 minutes. But not everyone burns calories at the same rate, so consumers will have to adjust the information based on their individual situation.
The above estimates, says Cramer, apply to a 35-year-old male who weighs 77 kg.
“The idea that a pictorial which indicates what the equivalent activity would be if you ate those crisps, or the muffin, or have the soft drink [conveys] is immediate,” says Cramer. “Everybody can understand that.”
An ‘in your face’ strategy for fighting obesity
Exercise not a weight loss drug
Not everybody is sold on the idea. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff is the medical director of the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa.
“People believe that exercise is the ticket to the weight loss express,” he said.
But, in fact, exercise doesn’t burn that many calories.
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