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Combat obesity with activity-based labels, says RSPH

Food and drink labels should reveal how much exercise you need to do to burn off the calories they contain, the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) argued today.

This comes after RSPH undertook a survey of more than 2,000 UK adults that shows many people find current front-of-pack nutritional information confusing, with many suffering from 'information overload' when they try to make healthy purchasing decisions.

This would “gently remind” consumers of the need to be active, make calories more relatable to everyday life, and help combat obesity, said Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Society.

“Although nutritional information provided on food and drink packaging has improved it is evident that it isn't working as well as it could to support the public in making healthy choices,” she added.

People were three times more likely to state they'd undertake physical activity after viewing 'activity equivalent' calorie labels, compared to the current 'traffic light' nutritional labels alone, according to the online poll carried out in December last year.

These labels should take the form of small picture icons on the packaging (pictured), rather than more text, RSPH stated.