Labelling foods with physical activity needed to burn calories linked to healthier choices

December 10, 2019

Labelling food and drink with the amount and type of exercise needed to burn off the calories in it might be a more effective way of encouraging people to make 'healthier' dietary choices, indicates research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Given that the current system of food labelling by calorie and nutrient content is poorly understood, and there's little evidence that it is altering purchasing decisions or having any impact on obesity levels, it may be worth trying, suggest the researchers.

If widely applied, it might, on average, shave off up to 195 calories per person per day, they calculate.

Physical activity calorie equivalent or expenditure (PACE) food labelling aims to show how many minutes or miles of physical activity are needed to burn off the calories in a particular food or drink.

For example, eating 229 calories in a small bar of milk chocolate would require about 42 minutes of walking or 22 minutes of running to burn these off.

The UK Royal Society for Public Health has already called for PACE labelling to replace the current system, but to date, there's been little strong evidence to back this stance.

The researchers trawled research databases and other relevant online resources for studies that compared PACE labelling with other types of food labelling or none for potential impact on the selection, purchase, or consumption of food and drinks (excluding alcohol).

They found 15 relevant randomised controlled trials, and pooled the data from 14 of them. The results showed that when PACE labelling was displayed on food and drink items and on menus, on average, significantly fewer calories--65 fewer per meal--were selected.

PACE labelling was also associated with the consumption of 80 to 100 fewer calories than no food labelling, or other types of labelling.

Based on their findings, and average consumption of three meals a day plus two snacks, the researchers suggest that PACE labelling might potentially slice around 200 calories off daily intake.

But they caution, the number of included studies was small, and the design of each varied considerably. Most weren't carried out in real life settings, such as restaurants and supermarkets.

Nevertheless, they suggest: "PACE labelling shows some promise in reducing the number of kilocalories (calories) selected from menus, as well as the number of calories and the amount of food (grams) consumed."

The evidence shows that even a relatively small reduction in daily calorie intake (100) combined with a sustained increase in physical activity is likely to be good for health and could help curb obesity at the population level: PACE labelling may help people achieve this, they say.

"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," they write.

"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 conclude.
-end-
Peer reviewed? Yes
Evidence type: Systematic review and meta-analysis
Subjects: Food labels

BMJ

Related Obesity Articles from Brightsurf:

11 years of data add to the evidence for using testosterone therapy to treat obesity, including as an alternative to obesity surgery
New research covering 11 years of data presented at this year's European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) show that, in obese men suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone), treatment with testosterone injections lowers their weight and improves a wide range of other metabolic parameters.

Overlap between immunology of COVID-19 and obesity could explain the increased risk of death in people living with obesity, and also older patients
Data presented in a special COVID-19 session at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) suggests that there are overlaps between the immunological disturbances found in both COVID-19 disease and patients with obesity, which could explain the increased disease severity and mortality risk faced by obese patients, and also elderly patients, who are infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

New obesity guideline: Address root causes as foundation of obesity management
besity management should focus on outcomes that patients consider to be important, not weight loss alone, and include a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of obesity, according to a new clinical practice guideline published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.191707.

Changing the debate around obesity
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) needs to do more to address the ingrained stigma and discrimination faced by people with obesity, says a leading health psychologist.

Study links longer exposure to obesity and earlier development of obesity to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Cumulative exposure to obesity could be at least as important as actually being obese in terms of risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), concludes new research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]).

How much do obesity and addictions overlap?
A large analysis of personality studies has found that people with obesity behave somewhat like people with addictions to alcohol or drugs.

Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?

Is obesity associated with risk of pediatric MS?
A single-center study of 453 children in Germany with multiple sclerosis (MS) investigated the association of obesity with pediatric MS risk and with the response of first-line therapy in children with MS.

Women with obesity prior to conception are more likely to have children with obesity
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.

Obesity medicine association announces major updates to its adult obesity algorithm
The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) announced the immediate availability of the 2019 OMA Adult Obesity Algorithm, with new information for clinicians including the relationship between Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, and Cancer; information on investigational Anti-Obesity Pharmacotherapy; treatments for Lipodystrophy; and Pharmacokinetics and Obesity.

Read More: Obesity News and Obesity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.