Calls for food labels to detail exercise needed to burn calories

Health experts are calling for the packaging on our food to contain information on how much exercise someone would need to complete, in order to burn off the calories contained in the packet of food.
The chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, Shirley Cramer, led the calls, saying that packaging should “help people change behaviour”, instead of purely listing the nutritional information for products.
Cramer said: “The aim is to prompt people to be more mindful of the energy they consume and how these calories relate to activities in their everyday lives, to encourage them to be more physically active.
“Such information needs to be as simple as possible so that the public can easily decide what to buy and consume in the average six seconds people spend looking at food before buying.
“People find symbols much easier to understand than numerical information, and activity equivalent calorie labels are easy to understand. For example, the calories in a can of fizzy drink take a person of average age and weight about 26 minutes to walk off,” she continued.
Current figures for the UK say that around a quarter of adults are obese, with 66 per cent of adults classed as being either overweight or obese, figures which have been rising and are expected to continue doing so. Experts predict that by 2050, 60 per cent of men, 50 per cent of women, and 25 per cent of children will be obese.
Whether food labels do end up being changed remains to be seen, as it could prove rather difficult. European legislation decides on mandatory labels for food and drink, rather than it being decided by parliament, which would lengthen the political process quite significantly. It is also likely to face resistance from manufacturers.
Although it might not be a legal requirement for some time – if ever – some manufacturers may at least choose to add such information voluntarily.

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