Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The shortcomings of food labelling

The epidermic of obesity has been very worrying. There is a radio advertisement currently on, telling us that for they first time, our children may not outlive us, because of the rising incidence of obesity among the younger generation.

One of the strategies that have been instituted in USA to help overcome obesity in the population, is to enforce a law on food labelling, hoping that when you know how many calories, or how much fat that you are eating, you may refrain, from the "junkfood".

Now CNN tells us about a survey, which showed that food labelling made no difference to peoples choice when they shop. Those who wish to eat those junkfoods will still buy and eat the junkfood, food labelling or not. A poll done end May, showed that 80% check the labels, and 40% will still go ahead and eat it anyway.

Looks like this strategy is not working very well. Can we all stop drinking coca cola, although we know that it contains 6 tablespoonful of sugar? Food labelling in USA started in 1994, since then, the incidence of obesity has risen from 56% to 66% (data from the center for disease control). 60% of young people would check the labels but still eat the junkfood anyway. Well, obviously we need better strategies.

The last time, we wrote that in a study by Dr Chiuve, only 4% of educated people will keep all 5 lifestyle modifying factors to prevent CAD. Lifestyle modification is cheap, and can be effective, but it is sure difficult to observe and be effective. We all like our food too much.

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