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Do we have a label that communicates and empowers shoppers to make nutritional choices and changes? Calorie counts and other front of label schemes just don’t seem to be working; so yes we need a better idea.
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, has a clever idea: putting “exercise labels” on food packages like chocolate, soda and chips. Her suggestion is to put a picture of someone exercising away the calories in a chocolate bar for example, or if you knew you'd have to work out for an hour after eating two slices of pizza, would you still chow down?
Another example is "the calories in a can of fizzy drink (or what we call soda) take a person of average age and weight about 26 minutes to walk off." The idea is to have a picture that shows this. As she explained to NBC News: "For example, if it was a can of soda, you would have a pictorial of a stick man running and it would say 26 minutes, or you would have walking 40 minutes or you would have swimming."
In a commentary in the British Medical Journal, Cramer wrote: "People find symbols much easier to understand than numerical information, and activity equivalent calorie labels are easy to understand, particularly for lower socioeconomic groups who often lack nutritional knowledge and health literacy."