Calls for food labels to show burn off time

Experts believes labels which detail how much exercise is needed to work off treats could have a huge impact on people’s health

Calls for food labels to show burn off time
Photo by REX Shutterstock 

It’s easy to be lulled into thinking you can tuck into a couple of biscuits after a virtuous gym session, but what if you knew just how long you’d need to work out to burn off the calories? Well that could actually be happening if a group of experts have their way.

A team at The Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) believes labels which detail how much exercise is needed to work off treats could have a huge impact on people’s health. The idea is for simple stick figure people to feature on packaging, with each either running, swimming or cycling and the amount of minutes of each exercise required included.

As examples, a packet of crisps which measures 171 calories could be worked off by 16 minutes of jogging or 31 minutes of walking.

“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,” Shirley Cramer, RSPH chief executive, explained. “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.”

It’s thought detailing the information will make it much easier for people who struggle to make healthy decisions to visualise the effect their choices will have on their waistlines. In turn, this could ease the obesity epidemic and the impact it’s having on health providers.

Other examples include a 330ml can of fizzy drink, which would take 26 minutes to walk off and 13 minutes to run off. A standard chicken and bacon sandwich would need 1 hour 22 minutes of walking and 42 minutes of running, while a quarter of a large pizza would mean 43 minutes spent jogging and 1 hour 23 minutes walking. A blueberry muffin of 265 calories could be got rid of by a 48 minute walk or 25 minute run.

2,010 adults were surveyed and just over half (53 per cent) stated such labels would encourage them to make better choices, ranging from working out more or eating different foods. It was found people were three times more likely to start exercising when faced with the new-look details, with 63 per cent of people supporting the labelling idea.

© Cover Media


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