Junk Food Exercise Labels?

Published online: Sep 28, 2006
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A New South Wales call for labels on junk food that include advice on how much exercise is necessary to burn off the energy they contain has been labeled a junk idea.

NSW Health Minister John Hatzistergos said he wanted Food Standards Australia New Zealand to examine a new labelling system that would show how much exercise was needed to burn kilojoules in certain foods and drinks.

He said an example could be that a label on a standard chocolate bar would show that an adult needed to walk briskly for an hour to burn its kilojoules.

Hatzistergos said the move would help people to understand the implications of ingesting unhealthy foods and drinks.

"Many food labels are too confusing," he said. "We need to make losing weight as simple as possible."

"If they realise just how much they have to burn-up, they might start to think twice about eating these types of junk foods and choose healthier alternatives."

But federal Parliamentary Secretary to the health minister Christopher Pyne said Hatzistergos is out of touch and behind the times.

"John Hatzistergos is raising this matter now to draw attention away from the realities of the NSW government's botched handling of a raft of issues that play into physical wellbeing," he said.

"This is a typical response from a state government - rather than taking responsibility for their own inaction in the areas of planning, safety and schools, they try to shift the blame to someone else - in this case, the food industry," Pyne said.