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Menu That States Number of Miles Required to Walk to Burn off Calories, More Effective

Update Date: Dec 24, 2012 01:18 PM EST

A new study suggests that people who count calories while picking up their food are more likely to get help from menus that say how far you have to walk to burn off your favorite foods.

According to the study, people are more likely to choose a healthier food items if the menu states how much it is going to take them to burn the calories contained in that particular food, instead of the menu having only details on calorie intake or no nutritional information.

Also, the findings revealed that consumers are more likely to notice the distance in miles specified by the menu rather than the number of minutes of walking required.

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In the recent years, there have been quite a few changes in the way menus are presented, with much more information on calories and nutrition included.

However, there isn't much evidence that this additional information on food items have encouraged people to make healthier choices.

In this study, the researchers from University of North Carolina in the US wanted to see how different types of labeling affected consumer behavior, Mail Online reported.

For the study, they recruited 800 volunteers and categorized them into four different groups.

All the groups were asked to choose fast food snacks from a menu that either gave no nutritional information at all, details of calorie content, the number of minutes walking needed to burn those calories off or number of miles needed to walk to achieve the same outcome.

The findings of the study revealed that the customers who had to pick from food that had no details at all picked dishes which were in an average about 1,020 calories each. This is about half a woman's recommended daily calorie intake and 40 per cent of a man's.

People, who had calorie count alone on the labels, picked up on an average of 927 calories.

However, people who were told how many minutes walking it would require them to burn the calories, picked up an average of 916 while people who were told the distance they would have to walk to burn off calories picked up about 826 calories on an average.

 "The menu with calories and the number of miles to walk to burn those calories appeared to be the most effective in influencing the selection of lower calorie meals. The majority of participants - 82 per cent - said they preferred physical activity-based menu labels over those with calorie information or nothing at all," the researchers said in their report.

The study was published in the journal Appetite.

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