Regulate food rather than use warnings
Media reports suggest that government food watchdogs are predicting an obesity crisis and are considering putting health warnings on foods that are high in salt, sugar, and fat.1 Health warnings or highlighting the calorie content of food on the packaging could turn us into a nation of frantic calorie counters. However, obesity and the complications of obesity such as stroke and heart disease are important causes of death and serious illness in the Western world.
But is there any evidence that such health warnings are effective? The impact of health warnings on cigarette packets can give us some insight into this. In a study to find out how people reacted to health warnings on cigarette packets it was found that 7% of people refrained from smoking on at least one occasion because of these warnings. The study however found that this percentage doubled in reaction to the newer health warnings