A new study included 300 people, aged 18 to 30, who were given either a
menu without kilojoule labels, a menu with kilojoule labels or a menu with labels
for the minutes of brisk walking needed to burn off the kilojoule in the
Brisk walking was chosen as the form of exercise because it is something that
nearly everyone can relate to, said lead researcher Ashlei James, a graduate
student at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.
The findings were scheduled for presentation at the Experimental Biology
meeting in Boston. Data and conclusions from research presented at medical
meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed
Two hour walk for a cheeseburger
As an example of the information given to the participants, a woman would
have to walk briskly for about two hours to burn off the kilojoule in a
quarter-pound double cheeseburger, the researchers said.
"All menus contained the same food and beverage options, which included
burgers, chicken sandwiches and tenders, salad, fries, desserts, soda, and
water," James said.
The people given the menu listing the minutes of brisk walking needed to burn
food kilojoules ordered and consumed fewer kilojoules than those given either of the
However, among those who received the other two menus - with or without kilojoule labels - there was no difference in the number of kilojoules ordered and
consumed, the investigators found.
"This study suggests there are benefits to displaying exercise minutes to a
group of young men and women," study senior author Meena Shah said.
"We can't generalise to a population over age 30, so we will further
investigate this in an older and more diverse group."
"This is the first study to look at the effects of displaying minutes of
brisk walking needed to burn food kilojoules on the kilojoules ordered and
consumed," Shah added.
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide
to physical activity.