Introducing “activity equivalent” calorie labelling to tackle obesity

Key points
  • Over two-thirds of adults in the UK are now overweight or obese
  • Most common cause of obesity is consuming more calories than you burn off
  • Food industry introduced nutritional labelling to aid consumers in making more informed choices
  • Consumers spend, on average, 6 seconds looking at food before purchase and understand symbols better than numeric information
  • Evidence suggests activity equivalent calorie labelling has the potential to help moderate calorie intake
  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of people would support the introduction of activity equivalent calorie labelling
  • Over half (53%) of people would positively change their behaviour after viewing front-of-pack activity equivalent calorie labelling
  • After viewing activity equivalent calorie labels compared with current traffic light front-of-pack information, people were over 3 times more likely to indicate that they would undertake physical activity.

Dr Davina Deniszczyc, Medical Executive Director at Nuffield Health, said: “Nuffield Health supports RSPH’s call for the introduction of ‘activity equivalent’ calorie labelling on food and drink. This is an easy way of illustrating calories using a more meaningful approach and will help the public understand how much activity is needed for even a small calorie burn. Nuffield Health have a clear charitable objective to help people get healthy and stay healthy and we think this plea for new labelling, alongside encouraging people to eat a balanced diet and do some form of physical activity each day, will help improve peoples’ general health and reduce their risk of developing future health problems.”