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Calorie labelling has small impact - is it enough?

Thursday October 31st, 2019

Policy-makers should not be deterred by evidence of the limited impact of calorie labelling in fast food outlets, British experts said today.

A US study, reported today by The BMJ, found that introducing labelling led to a small, immediate drop in the calorie content of purchases.

Even this effect then faded over the following year, according to the study, involving a large restaurant franchise in the southern United States.

Researchers were able to analyse 50 million transactions over three years. The immediate effect was a 4% reduction in calorie purchases – but after 12 months the reduction had fallen to 1.5%.

The researchers, from Harvard University, say there might be longer-term benefits as outlets seek to change menus to reduce calorie levels.

Writing in the journal Dr Asha Kaur, of the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University, says the results "might be disappointing to some... small changes to calorie intake can have meaningful effects at the population level."

Dr Kaur says calorie and nutrition labelling should be part of a multi-faced approach to tackling obesity.

Editorial: Calorie labelling to reduce obesity. BMJ 31 October 2019

https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l6119

Tags: Diet & Food | North America | UK News

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