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Exercise Labels: The Next Frontier In Food Packaging?

Jayson Derrick

U.K. researchers are debating if food packaging should expand to include how much exercise is needed to burn off the calories included in a food item, according to The Guardian.

What Is Exercise Labeling?

Food packages must display nutritional information, including calorie and salt content. But researchers are evaluating if small symbols showing how much physical activity is needed to cancel out the consumption of a food item will help tackle overeating and other health problems, according to The Guardian.

For example, a fizzy beverage from Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) could include a symbol of a person walking accompanied with "26 minutes."

Professor Amanda Daley of Loughborough University told The Guardian that it's an easy-to-understand metric. 

"If I tell you something is going to take you 60 minutes of walking to burn, I think most people understand that and know that 60 minutes of walking is a long way," she said. 

Why It's Important

A study of food packaging with exercise-based labels found that people eat 103 fewer calories when given a choice of an exercise-based label or food with no labels, according to The Guardian. 

Yet the study failed to show a clear benefit when exercise-based labels were compared with other labeling.

Small dietary changes are still better than none.

The Royal Society of Public Health told CNN that "small changes" like exercise-based labels can "make a big overall difference to calorie consumption, and ultimately weight gain."

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