William Eichler 15 February 2016

Calorie counts on menus in big chains ‘should be mandatory’, says council leaders

Government should make calorie counts on menus in pubs, restaurants, and cinema chains ‘mandatory’ in order to fight obesity, says the Local Government Association (LGA).

Councils argue that chains with more than 20 outlets should be required to clearly display calorie counts so that consumers can make informed decisions.

The latest figures show three and a half million children in the UK are obese - one in five 10 and 11-year-olds and one in 10 four and five-year-olds.

Obesity in children can lead to major health conditions later in life, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

According to the LGA, the initiative is one that has seen a certain amount of success in the US. A successful calorie count scheme has been running in New York since 2008 and has the backing of the city's restaurant industry.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, the LGA's Community Wellbeing spokesperson, said: ‘Food and drink with high calorie content is clearly a factor behind obesity, and the subsequent health problems it can cause.

‘We want the Government to require major retailers to make their customers fully aware of how many calories they are eating or drinking.

‘Clear and prominent signs indicating the number of calories in a product should be mandatory.’

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