McDonald's will count the calories to help fight obesity epidemic

5 September 2011

McDonald's, the global fast food chain synonymous with high-calorie food and sugary drinks, will begin displaying calorie counts on all of its food packaging this Wednesday (September 7th).

Over 1,200 UK restaurants will begin changing their menus alongside fellow high street eateries such as KFC, Pret a Manger, Pizza Hut and JD Wetherspoon as part of the government and food sector's Responsibility Deal.

In a move which could have ramifications for the growing obesity epidemic and concomitant rise in people needing weight loss surgery, research shows that labelling packaging with calorie numbers does actually influence people's food choices.

"This is an exciting time for our high street," commented Susan Jebb, chair of the Responsibility Deal Food Network, which oversees the initiative.

Health secretary Andrew Landsley, outlining the ramifications of the extension of the deal, explained it would "help people spot those hidden calories in their favourite foods and keep an eye on their waistlines".

Following a series of papers published in the Lancet journal last month, which suggested that 40 per cent of adults could be obese by 2030, health minister Anne Milton claimed the deal will help to deliver "real progress quickly" to change people's eating habits.

Posted by Philip Briggs

1 Dietz, William, "Reversing the tide of obesity". The Lancet. Friday August 27th 2011.

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