A new study suggests that exercise labels could be more effective than calorie counts at putting teens off sugary food and fizzy drinks.
Researchers from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, posted three different signs outside corner shops to see which was best at putting teens off soft drinks.
Exercise equivalent labels were the best way to put teens off fizzy drinks
One sign asked if the teens knew that the average fizzy drink contained 250 calories. The second sign asked if they knew that the drink was equivalent to ten per cent of their daily recommended intake. A third sign asked: 'Did you know that working off a bottle of fizzy drink or fruit juice takes about 50 minutes of running?'
Their results, published in the American Journal of Public Health, show that warning labels explaining how much exercise is needed to run off the calories are far more effective than traditional counts.
Whilst providing calorie-related information did cause sales to drop by 40 per cent, researchers found that teenagers who were shown the ‘physical activity equivalent’ label on unhealthy food and drinks were half as likely to consume them.
Study author Dr Sarah Bleich said: 'People generally underestimate the number of calories in the foods and beverages they consume.’
'Because of the health problems associated with junk food, it is critical to explore the most effective strategies for presenting caloric information to consumers on fast food restaurant menu boards.'
Fizzy drinks have been blamed for contributing to the obesity epidemic in the UK. Latest statistics have shown that 19 per cent of children aged 10 to 11 are now obese, and British women are the fattest in Europe.
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