PACE labelling

The effectiveness of Physical Activity Calorie Equivalent (PACE) labelling on food selection and consumption

Labelling food and drinks with the amount and type of physical activity needed to expend the calories they contain might be an effective way of encouraging people to reduce calorie consumption.

We searched research databases and other relevant online resources for studies that compared PACE labelling with other types of food labelling or no labelling for potential impact on the selection, purchase, or consumption of food and drinks (excluding alcohol).

We found 15 relevant randomised controlled studies and pooled the data from 14 of them. The results showed that when PACE labelling was displayed on food and drink items and on menus, on average, significantly fewer calories were selected for consumption - around 65 less per meal. PACE labelling was also associated with the consumption of around 80 to 100 fewer calories than no food labelling and other types of labelling. Based on the average consumption of three meals a day plus two snacks, PACE labelling might potentially reduce calorie consumption by around 200 calories per day.‌

What next?

This research should be interpreted with some caution as that the number of included studies in the review was modest, and many were not conducted in real life settings, such as restaurants and supermarkets. PACE labelling is a simple strategy that could be easily included on food/drinks packaging by manufacturers, on shelving price labels in supermarkets, and/or in menus in restaurants/fast-food outlets.

Citation details

Daley AJ, McGee E, Bayliss S, Coombe A, Parretti HM. Effects of physical activity calorie equivalent food labelling to reduce food selection and consumption: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled studies. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2020. DOI: 10.1136/jech-2019-213216.

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Amanda Daley

Professor Amanda Daley

Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Centre Director