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Preventing weight gain with calorie-labeling

Preventing weight gain with calorie-labeling

Nikolaou, Charoula Konstantia ORCID: 0000-0001-6519-4174, Hankey, Catherine Ruth and Lean, Michael Ernest John (2014) Preventing weight gain with calorie-labeling. Obesity, 22 (11). pp. 2277-2283. ISSN 1930-7381 (Print), 1930-739X (Online) (doi:

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Calorie-labeling has been suggested as an anti-obesity measure but there is no evidence for its effect, to date. Early adulthood is a critical life-cycle period for unwanted weight gain and obesity development. This study examined whether providing calorie information would help young adults to avoid weight gain.

Using a pragmatic interrupted time-series study design, weight changes over 36 weeks were reported among two year-groups, each of 120 young adults, similar in age, gender, and ethnicity, living in fully-catered accommodation. Year 1: subjects were observed without calorie-labeling, apart from a 5-week pilot. Year 2: calorie-labeling was present prominently and consistently at main meals for 30 of the 36 weeks.

Mean weight changes over 36 weeks, per protocol, were +3.5 kg (95% CI = 2.8-4.1 kg) (n = 64) in Year 1 and -0.15 kg (95% CI = -0.7-0.3 kg) (n = 87) in Year 2. Weight changes were significantly different between years, for males and females (both P < 0.001). Intention-to-treat analysis showed similar results. Relative Risk for weight gain in Year 2, compared to Year 1, was 0.5 (P < 0·0001).

Calorie-labeling was associated with a 3.5 kg less weight gain, representing a low-cost "nudging" approach to combat the rapid weight gain seen in young adults.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: weight-gain prevention, calorie-labelling, nudging, young adults
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2020 16:17

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