Diet And Fitness

Food Labels Should Detail Amount Of Exercise Needed To Burn Off Calories, Experts Urge

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“Traffic light” food labels could soon receive an update, the Press Association reports.

Health experts from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) are calling for food packaging to detail the amount of exercise you would need to do in order to burn off the calories in that product.

The proposed packaging would include pictures showing the type of exercise needed to match the calorie intake (e.g. running or walking) and the amount of time you would need to spend doing the activity.

A poll of more than 2,000 people for the RSPH found 63% would support the change to food labels. A total of 53% thought it would make them do more exercise, eat less or choose healthier products.

According to the RSPH, many members of the public find it difficult to understand the current nutritional information presented on packets and complain of feeling “overloaded” with information.

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the RSPH, said: “Although nutritional information provided on food and drink packaging has improved, it is evident that it isn’t working as well as it could to support the public in making healthy choices.

“Activity equivalent calorie labelling provides a simple means of making the calories contained within food and drink more relatable to people’s everyday lives, while also gently reminding consumers of the need to maintain active lifestyles and a healthy weight.”

A spokesman for the Food and Drink Federation added: “Weight gain occurs when more calories are consumed than are burned during physical activity.

“For this reason, initiatives which reinforce the well-understood calorie message and encourage people to be more active are to be encouraged.

“As an industry, we are looking at what more we can do to help people use the existing nutritional information provided to understand how different foods and drinks fit within a healthy lifestyle.

“Activity equivalent information is an interesting concept and the role it could play in driving meaningful behaviour change is certainly worth exploring.”

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