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Effects of physical activity calorie equivalent food labelling to reduce food selection and consumption: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled studies
  1. Amanda J Daley1,
  2. Eleanor McGee2,
  3. Sue Bayliss3,
  4. April Coombe3,
  5. Helen M Parretti3,4
  1. 1 School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
  2. 2 Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3 Institute for Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  4. 4 Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Amanda J Daley, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3UE, UK; a.daley{at}


Background There is limited evidence that nutritional labelling on food/drinks is changing eating behaviours. Physical activity calorie equivalent (PACE) food labelling aims to provide the public with information about the amount of physical activity required to expend the number of kilocalories in food/drinks (eg, calories in this pizza requires 45 min of running to burn), to encourage healthier food choices and reduce disease.

Objective We aimed to systematically search for randomised controlled trials and experimental studies of the effects of PACE food labelling on the selection, purchase or consumption of food/drinks.

Methods PACE food labelling was compared with any other type of food labelling or no labelling (comparator). Reports were identified by searching electronic databases, websites and social media platforms. Inverse variance meta-analysis was used to summarise evidence. Weighted mean differences (WMD) and 95% CIs were used to describe between-group differences using a random effects model.

Results 15 studies were eligible for inclusion. When PACE labelling was displayed on food/drinks and menus, significantly fewer calories were selected, relative to comparator labelling (WMD=−64.9 kcal, 95% CI −103.2 to −26.6, p=0.009, n=4606). Presenting participants with PACE food labelling results in the consumption of significantly fewer calories (WMD=−80.4 kcal, 95% CI−136.7 to −24.2, p=0.005, n=486) relative to comparator food labelling.

Conclusion Based on current evidence PACE food labelling may reduce the number of kilocalories selected from menus and decrease the number of kilocalories/grams of food consumed by the public, compared with other types of food labelling/no labelling.

Trial registration number CRD42018088567.

  • calorie labelling
  • labelling
  • physical activity
  • review
  • meta analysis
  • kilocalorie

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it first published online. Figure 1 has been corrected.

  • Contributors AJD conceived the original idea for the study. AJD wrote the protocol with contributions from HMP, SB, AC and EM. AJD wrote the first version of the manuscript with input from all other authors. AJD and HMP extracted the data and conducted the analyses. All authors had full access to the data, take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis, contributed to the interpretation of the results and reviewed and approved the final manuscript. AJD is the guarantor of the study.

  • Funding This work was an independent research funded by the Loughborough University.

  • Disclaimer The views expressed are those of the authors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.