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Food should be labelled with the exercise needed to expend its calories

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 06 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i1856
  1. Shirley Cramer,
  2. chief executive
  1. Royal Society for Public Health, London E1 8AN
  1. scramer{at}

Giving consumers an immediate link between foods’ energy content and physical activity may reduce obesity

More than two thirds of the UK population are either overweight or obese.1 We desperately need innovative schemes to change behaviour at the population level.

Little evidence has shown that the current information on food and drink packaging, including “traffic light” labelling, actually changes behaviour. Packaging should not only provide nutritional information but should also help people to change behaviour.

The Royal Society for Public Health has called for the introduction of “activity equivalent” calorie labelling, with symbols showing how many minutes of several different physical activities are equivalent in the calories expended to those in the product. 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 …

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