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Councils urge pubs, restaurants to display calorie content of food and drink

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The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils across UK, is urging pubs, restaurants and cinema chains to display signs displaying calorie content of food, drink in a bid to curb the burgeoning problem of obesity.

The LGA is asking restaurants and other such places where food is served for voluntary calorie count signs to be prominently placed at counters and on menus.

“We are calling on cinema, restaurant and pub chains to step up to the plate and show leadership in tackling the obesity crisis, by providing clear and graphic signs at counters and on menus”, said Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board.

Seccombe said that people are unaware of how many calories they are consuming and to make sure that the do, food and drink outlets should provide clear and prominent labelling which spells this out clearly.

The association is calling for introduction of such a scheme after a successful pilot in New York city, which has been running since 2008. A similar scheme is also being introduced in the US where chains of restaurants, cinemas and pizza parlours are providing calorie counts on their menus.

The LGA is also asking for £1 billion of existing VAT to be handed to councils to fund local preventative schemes, prevent obesity, help millions of overweight and obese children across the country and ease pressure on the NHS.

The call comes as latest research shows the scale of the obesity crisis and its paralysing effects on the nation. The NHS is spending over £1.5 million an hour on diabetes – more than £13 billion a year – and more than 3.5 million children are now classed as overweight or obese.

LGA acknowledged that some retailers are already providing such information, but the industry in general needs to do more and provide with such information so people know how many calories their food and drink contains.