'Food labels should tell exercise needed to burn calories'

A new study has emphasised the need for new food labels to inform people about the amount of exercise needed to burn calories, instead of just informing them about the calories present in a particular product, which could be more effective in weight loss.

The Royal Society for Public Health maintains that most people do not understand calories and fat levels in terms of energy balance.

The introduction of 'physical activity calorie equivalent or expenditure' (Pace) food labelling will tell consumers how many minutes or miles of exercise they need to burn calories in a particular product they are likely to consume, Sky News reported.

A research seems to back this approach, predicting that it could shave off up to around 200 calories per person each day on an average if widely applied.

The research was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, in which the study's authors concluded that "Pace labelling is a simple strategy that could be easily included on food/beverage packaging by manufacturers, on shelving price labels in supermarkets, and/or in menus in restaurants/fast-food outlets."

"Public health agencies may want to consider the possibility of including policies to promote (it) as a strategy that contributes to the prevention and treatment of obesity and related diseases. They did however caution that many of the studies from which the data were drawn were not carried out in real-life environments, such as restaurants and supermarkets."

They said the effects of Pace labelling could vary according to context, with marketing, time constraints and price all likely to affect choices".

A report published last month from Diabetes UK found that 13 million adults in the UK are obese, with NHS national medical director Stephen Powis describing obesity as "a dangerous public health threat".

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