Labels that Translate Calories into Walking Distance

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s war on soda (and, by proxy, obesity) may have suffered a setback, but New York is pushing back with new public awareness posters that show how far you’d have to walk to burn off a 20 oz. (590 millilitres, for those of us with sensible systems of measurement). As it turns out, you’d need to walk three miles (4.8 kilometres; come on, America).

Research has shown that some people are bad at making decisions based on calorie information alone. A study that presented participates with four menus (one with no nutritional information, one with a mere calorie count, one also included amount of time walking it would take to burn those calories off, and one with the distance of walking it would require to burn said calories off) found that people presented with the second two menus ordered a 100-200 fewer calories than other participants.

A few hundred calories doesn’t sound like much, but that kind of daily decrease translates into weight loss of at least ten pounds per year, which is good news for a country struggling with obesity.

[Scientific American]

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