Calls for new food labels after figures show Yorkshire children ‘too heavy’

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Food labels should show people how much exercise they would have to do to work off the calories, according to a health education charity.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) said “activity equivalent” calorie labelling should be put on the front of food and drink packs, with pictures showing the exercise needed to match the calorie intake.

A poll for the organisation found almost two thirds of people would back the change and over half said it would make them do more exercise, eat less or choose healthier products.

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the RSPH, said: “Activity equivalent calorie labelling provides a simple means of making the calories contained within food and drink more relatable to people’s everyday lives, while also gently reminding consumers of the need to maintain active lifestyles and a healthy weight.”

Their call comes after another charity demanded a ban on TV advertising of junk food before the watershed as latest figures showed revealed that a third of Yorkshire 11-year-olds are too heavy.

According to statistics for 2014/15, 33.3 per cent of children in year six across the region were overweight or obese.

In Bradford, Hull and Rotherham, levels were higher with over 35 per cent of 11-year-olds weighing too much.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre’s National Child Measurement Programme also found that 21.5 per cent of reception class in Yorkshire children were overweight or obese, rising to one in four in Richmondshire and North East Lincolnshire.

The British Heart Foundation has previously called for a ban on all junk food TV advertising before 9pm, after finding 13 adverts for unhealthy foods were shown during one episode of the X Factor last year.

The charity wants the ban included in the Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy, which is expected later this month.

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