How much exercise it takes to burn off fatty foods, as expert urges figures should be on packets

Consumers find the current traffic light system confusing, according to the head of a leading public health body

Kashmira Gander
Friday 08 April 2016 13:13 BST
(Evan-Amos/Creative Commons)

Food packets should alert people of how much exercise it takes to burn off the calories inside the product, an expert has suggested.

As well as nutritional information, packaging should include detail that helps people to change their behaviour, Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) has suggested.

In comments which appeared in the BMJ medical journal, she said that the current traffic light system had not been proven to change how people approach their diets.

Instead, consumers should be made aware of the activity required to burn off what they eat, including the exercises they could do.

Such a measure would encourage people to choose healthier products, eat smaller portions and exercise more.

“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 lives, to encourage them to be more physically active,” she wrote.

Ms Cramer went on to cite research which showed that 44 per cent of people are confused by current packaging.

“Such information needs to be as simple as possible so that the public can easily decide what to buy and consume in the average six seconds people spend looking at food before buying,” she added.

“People find symbols much easier to understand than numerical information, and activity equivalent calorie labels are easy to understand."

Additional reporting by Press Association

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