Earlier in April, a study came out showing that the amount of obese people worldwide outnumbered the amount of underweight people for the first time. Now, to combat this epidemic, a public health body in the UK is arguing that we should label various foods with the amount of time it would take to burn off the calories with exercise.
According to Mashable, the Royal Society for Public Health’s Shirley Cramer is arguing that doing this would motivate people to think about their health more. “The aim is to prompt people to be more mindful of the energy they consume and how these calories relate to activities in their everyday lives, to encourage them to be more physically active,” Cramer writes in the British Medical Journal. She calls this practice “activity equivalent” labeling.
The flipside? The inadvertent encouragement of eating disorders. “I think the downside of the advice is that those who are most of risk of eating disorders would latch onto it, rather than the obese or overweight,” another health expert, Thomas Sanders, contends.
Sanders also says that calories are essential for things like staying alive, while another scientist points out that no one person is going to take the same amount of time to burn off the same amount of calories as someone else who weighs differently.