Intended for healthcare professionals


Calorie labelling on the high street

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 26 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4502
  1. Susan A Jebb, head
  1. 1Diet and Population Health, MRC Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge CB1 9NL, UK
  1. susan.jebb{at}

A step forward, but changes in food supply must follow

In the linked cross sectional surveys (doi: 10.1136/bmj.d4464), Dumanovsky and colleagues assess the effect of a menu labelling regulation on calories (1 kcal=4.18 kJ) per purchase at fast food chains in New York City.1

The need to find new approaches to stimulate dietary change is self evident. More than 60% of adults are overweight, and diet related ill health is estimated to account for 10% of morbidity and mortality in the United Kingdom.2 Years of traditional information based health promotion have heightened awareness of the elements of a healthy diet, with 87% of consumers claiming that healthy eating is important to them.3 Nevertheless, changes in eating habits have been slow, and much remains to be done.4 The challenge is to find and test innovative approaches to drive dietary change within populations.

Front of pack nutritional labelling on products in the supermarket is now widespread in the UK, but with an estimated 20-25% of calories consumed away from home, it is logical that labelling should extend beyond supermarket purchases. Dumanovsky and colleagues report on …

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