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Would a '60-minute jog' nutritional label deter you?

Monday, December 19, 2011
Displaying the amount of time it would take to burn a beverage off would be more easily understood than current calorie information, a new US study has found.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins's Bloomberg School of Public Health observed teenagers at stores, where signs displayed either calorie counts, calorie counts as a percent of recommended daily calorie intake, or the time spent jogging that would be needed to burn off a sugary beverage. While all signs led the teenagers to purchase fewer drinks, researchers found that the conversion to exercise minutes was the most effective, the US' Live Science reported..

"In general, people are very bad at estimating the amount of calories in food they consume," said assistant professor of health policy and management, Sara Bleich.

"If we give them easy ways of examining it … I think we can be effective in reducing calories in purchases."

About 93 drinks a day were purchased in each store, which dipped slightly when the signs went up. Soft drink, iced tea and sports drink sales declined slightly and sales of non-sugary beverages, such as water doubled. While all three types of signs appeared to reduce the number of sugary drinks sold, only the signs displaying exercise times had strong enough results to conclude it wasn't due to simple chance.

The study appears in the American Journal of Public Health.

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