DD, Aged 17

    When people would talk they didn't know what to say which was understandable.  more...


    Mimi - 15 years old

    I lost myself doing stupid things, angry and sad and depressed at everything. I ended up failing my classes, not caring about school, and getting into fights.  more...


    Chelsea - 14 years old

    I stuck my head round the door in the room mum was in, and she looked really ill. I couldn't understand what was happening - one minute my mum was fine and the next she was ill.  more...


    Clair - aged 14

    Something I wish is I could just have one more day with my dad! - to tell him how much I love him and how sorry I am for all the bad things I have said and done to him!  more...


    Nicole - 17 years old

    This time the doctors are unable to operate. He has already had 6 sessions of chemo and is having another 6 sessions. I cannot help feeling I may lose him.  more...


    Rirrif - 15 years old

    I have been staying with my dad because my mom doesn't want me around when she is sick, which is all the time. My dad works at night so I spend a lot of time alone since I'm not with my mom. I'm afraid she is going to die and I'll blame myself for not being there more. more...


    HT - 13 years old

    She has been so strong about this and is keen to put it all behind her.  more...

'Actvity labels' on food and drinks

Suggestion that food and drinks should be labelled to tell us how much exercise we need to do in order to burn off the calories in what we consume

At a time when obesity is an increasing health problem in our society, experts who work in public health are constantly exploring new ways of informing people about how to eat healthily and keep physically active. One of the things that we have all got used to by now is the ‘traffic light’ system of food labelling. This is the 3 colour label (a pie chart in red, yellow and green) on food packages that shows how much fat, sugar and carbohydrate the food contains. The more green that is on the label the healthier the product is whereas the more red tells us that the food is not a healthy choice.

Although this labelling system shows us the nutritional content of food, it may not mean very much to us in relation to the impact it has on us and how we can make sure to have a healthy food/activity balance. One suggestion that has been put forward by Shirley Cramer who is the chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, is that there could be another label on food products that tells us how long we would have to walk or run in order to burn off the calories in the food and drink that we buy/consume. So for instance, instead of just telling us how much fat, sugar and calories are in a chocolate bar, there would be a label showing that we would have to walk briskly for 42 minutes or run for 22 minutes in order to burn off the calories in the chocolate bar.

It is thought that this type of labelling might encourage people to be a bit more active in their everyday lives. Also, this type of information is not meant to scare people or telling people what they should NOT do. Instead, it is thought that it has a more positive angle, telling people what they CAN do. One of the main reason that a large proportion of the population in the UK – and other countries - is increasingly overweight or obese, is that we are consuming far more calories than we burn off. This can be because we don’t know how much we need to exercise in order to have that balance. The existing food labels about fat, sugar and calorie content tell us what we take into our bodies and perhaps the suggested activity/exercise label could help us to know more about what we need to do in order to burn off some of the calories that we have consumed. Of course, we mustn’t forget that we need calories to live and for cells in our bodies to grow and be healthy, particularly when our bodies are still growing and not yet completely developed. It’s all about the balance though…

What do you think about this type of ‘activity labelling’? You can leave a comment below.

Read more about this on NHS Choices website.

This article was first published : 5.5.2016

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