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Alcohol calorie info 'can fight obesity'

05 May 2015 08:55

Concerns have been raised over the calorie count of alcohol

Concerns have been raised over the calorie count of alcohol

The compulsory inclusion of calorie counts on labelling for beers, wines and spirits would boost the battle against obesity, a public health organisation claims.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) says with drink playing a part in the nation's obesity crisis, the mandatory calorie information - set out alongside details of alcoholic content - would encourage more people to consume drinks sensibly.

Its chairwoman, Dr Fiona Sim, wants to see calorie counts included on bar and restaurant menus, as well as on the labels of cans and bottles.

She says the UK has failed to effectively deal with obesity, adding that the problem is taking its toll on both individuals and society as a whole.

Although obesity can contribute to various medical conditions, these do not have to deter people from enjoying a holiday abroad and can be covered by a medical travel insurance policy.

But Dr Sim says labelling alcoholic drinks would provide health officials with another weapon in their fight against obesity.

And, writing in the BMJ, she says RSPH research suggests a majority of people - just over two thirds (67%) of those surveyed - would back a move to make such labels compulsory.

Most people, she says, are totally unaware that a pint of beer, glass of wine or shot of spirits adds to their calorie intake.

Four fifths of the 2,000 people polled, she adds, do not know how many calories common alcoholic drinks contain.

Dr Sim says among adult drinkers around a tenth of their daily intake of calories is typically provided by alcohol.

Just two large glasses of red wine, she says, contain 370 calories or nearly 20% of a woman's recommended daily intake.

Writing in the BMJ, Dr Sim says the calories contained in alcohol should be treated in the same way as those in food and soft drinks.