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Alcoholic drinks contribute to obesity and should come with mandatory calorie counts

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 28 April 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2047
  1. Fiona Sim, chair, Royal Society for Public Health, London E1 8AN, UK
  1. fionasim{at}

The law should require restaurant menus and labels to make energy content explicit in addition to alcohol content, writes Fiona Sim

In 2011 the European Union ruled that packaged foods have to be labelled with their ingredients and nutritional information, including energy content (calories). But drinks that contain more than 1.2% alcohol by volume are exempt: consumers do not know what is in them.

The European Commission had committed to publishing a report to consider exclusions from the regulation, including calorie labelling of alcoholic drinks, by December 2014. That report is now several months overdue,1 and no revised publication date has been announced.

Failure to tackle obesity

It is impossible to ignore our failure to deal with obesity. Daily, in clinical and public health practice, we see its costs to individuals and society. Despite access to an armoury of evidence based public health and behavioural interventions, we increasingly deploy often invasive and expensive downstream clinical interventions for patients with serious yet preventable adverse health consequences of their …

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