(CNN)Food labels detailing how much exercise is needed to burn off a product's calorie content could help to combat obesity, according to United Kingdom researchers.
Professor Amanda Daley acknowledged: "We mediate it's not going that PACE meals labelling will occupy unintended penalties comparable to eating considerations - diversified kinds of bodily task campaigns haven't been proven to do this". So, rather than simply listing a calorie number, the researchers tested how consumers responded to exercise requirement data instead.
The study said that the introduction of "physical activity calorie equivalent or expenditure" (Pace) food labelling will tell consumers how many minutes or miles of exercise they need to burn calories in a particular product they are likely to consume, Sky News reported.
For example, such labeling would show that a person would need to walk 42 minutes or run 22 minutes to burn off the 229 calories in a small bar of milk chocolate, said British researchers.
The team looked at data from 14 studies that examined the effectiveness of PACE labeling in reducing calorie consumption. Stretch that figure out over many years and it could result in a dramatic reduction in obesity-related health ailments and deaths.
The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), an organization of health care professionals in the United Kingdom, is also an advocate of the labels.
This could help prevent population-level obesity, as regular over-consumption of small amounts of calories is a key contributing factor, the team said.
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However, they cautioned that numerous studies were not carried out in real-life environments, such as restaurants and supermarkets.
Writing in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, the researchers concluded: "Pace labeling is a simple strategy that could be easily included on food/beverage packaging by manufacturers, on shelving price labels in supermarkets, and/or in menus in restaurants/fast-food outlets". Most weren't carried out in real life settings, such as restaurants and supermarkets.
They found that fewer grams of food and beverages were consumed, fewer calories selected and fewer calories consumed when Pace labelling was used, compared with other types of label or no labels.
If widely applied, it might, on average, shave off up to 195 calories per person per day, they calculate.
"In restaurants and coffee shops, where we eat most of our high-calorie foods, you would typically see no labelling at all", Daley said.
Prof Daley said many people would be shocked to realise how much physical exercise would be required to burn off calories from certain snacks and treats.