Critics say putting exercise calorie counts on food packaging would only reinforce the notion that exercise earns people the right to eat ‘crappy foods’
According to scientists, Brits consume, on average, 6,000 calories on Christmas Day alone.
So, in an experiment published last year in the British Medical Journal, U.K. researchers explored whether providing people with the amount of exercise required to burn off the calories in, say, a single piece of mincemeat pie (21 minutes of running) or one small Christmas pudding (a staggering 110-minute run) would help prevent weight gain over the holidays.
In fact, they found participants in the “brief intervention” group exposed to this new kind of food labelling ended the holidays weighing 0.5 kg less, on average, than a comparison group.
Now, in a new review and analysis that pooled data from 14 randomized controlled trials, some of the same collaborators are reporting that when labeling known as PACE — physical activity calorie equivalent — is displayed on menu items, people consume, on average, 65 fewer calories per meal compared with other types of labeling, or no labeling.
It may not sound like much. However, the average person eats three meals a day, plus two snacks — five separate eating occasions where PACE might nudge people to reduce their total calorie intake by 200 to 250 calories a day, said Amanda Daley, of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University.
“In the U.K., the guidance is that if you want to lose weight then you should look for a deficit of 500 calories per day, so already you could see how PACE could cut into that 500 calories,” she said.
The Royal Society for Public Health in the U.K. is already calling for PACE labeling on the front of food packaging.
But not everyone is so enthralled. Some worry it could lead to an exercise/eating disorder nightmare. “We know that many people with eating disorders struggle with excessive exercising, so being told exactly how much exercise it would take to burn off particular foods risks exacerbating their symptoms,” Tom Quinn, of the eating disorders charity Beat, told the BBC.
“Quite honestly, we have as a society, over quite a long time really, only focused on exercise as a means to manage weight or burn calories when it is poor at both,” said obesity specialist Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa.
One advantage around PACE is that it tells people what it takes to burn that muffin or that Frappuccino
Freedhoff’s issue with the idea of putting exercise calorie counts on food packaging is that it would reinforce those messages, as well as the notion that exercise earns people the right to eat “crappy foods.” (In a related tweet, he also worried it could reinforce weight bias by suggesting people struggling with obesity are “lazy gluttons.”)
The idea that some “magical set of instructions” will lead everybody to make healthier choices is, well, magical thinking, he said, when the wider problem is the constant provision of junk food at every turn.
“And if you discourage the consumption of junk food and simultaneously discourage people from exercising, I don’t think that’s a public health win,” Freedhoff said.
Daley, however, argues that traditional nutritional labeling is difficult for the public to grasp and doesn’t provide any context or meaning. Many people don’t understand the meanings of calories or grams of fat in terms of energy balance, she and her coauthors wrote, and studies show the public consistently underestimates the number of calories in food. “Just putting numbers on a packet really has no relevance,” Daley said.
“One advantage around PACE is that it tells people what it takes to burn that muffin or that Frappuccino,” she said. It could help people decide whether the calories are “worth it.”
Some festive examples include: one thick slice of roast turkey (roughly 100 calories) would require 16 minutes of walking, three large roast potatoes (161 calories) 27 minutes of walking and one small Christmas pudding (1,280 calories) 110 minutes of running.
According to the formula, 100 calories is about 10 minutes of running and 20 minutes of walking for an 80kg man (the average weight for a man).
Daley said there is no evidence to date that physical activity campaigns lead to unhealthy or disordered eating. Obesity is related to cancer deaths, cardiovascular deaths and stroke, among other killers. “We’re interested in trying to save lives from those diseases,” she said.
Ultimately the researchers would like PACE to be seen on labels in supermarkets, on packages, and particularly on menus in restaurants and fast food outlets. “All those types of places where we eat high-calorie foods would be a really good place to start.”
There are some caveats: Most of the studies Daley and colleagues analyzed were small, and based on lab settings or “hypothetical meal selection scenarios,” not real life ones.
The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life
Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.
That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.
What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?
Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.
Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.
Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations
As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.
Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:
- Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
- Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
- Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.
Determining a Fair Payment Plan
Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.
Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.
Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers
When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:
- Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
- Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
- Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
- Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.
Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.
Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.
Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home
THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.
The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.
No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.
Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.
Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister
Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.
Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.
“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”
Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.
“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.
LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.
“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.
The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.
LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.
From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.
On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.
“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.
LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.
“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.
She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.
Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.
LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.
“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.
–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News
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