UK officials may soon add activity labels to certain foods

HEALTHLINE: UK could soon add activity labels to certain foods

LONDON (CBS NEWS) - We’ve all been there - staring at the food aisle, trying to decide what to buy.

Now, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in the UK hopes to make that decision easier by introducing activity labels to help people think before they eat.

Duncan Stephenson is Deputy CEO of the RSPH. He says the idea is "to make it easier for people to translate the calories they're consuming into their energy expenditure."

For example, a chicken and bacon sandwich with 445 calories requires 42 minutes of slow running.

A 229-calorie chocolate would need 22 minutes of running.

Add a medium mocha coffee with 290 calories and you’re running for 28 minutes.

In all, that’s more than an hour and a half on the treadmill. “It might make you think twice,” says Stephenson, “should I put them away, or should I maybe be a bit more active?”

British researchers predict people could cut 200 calories a day with the new labels and would be three times more likely to get moving.

Researchers believe the new system would not only curb appetites but also cut obesity rates.

“It’s linked to cancers, poor mental health, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis,” Stephenson says.

But health experts admit activity labels aren’t the silver bullet against obesity, because they say you can’t outrun a bad diet.

Health officials hope to get approval to roll out activity labels in the U.K. in the near future.