Alerting teens about how much walking or running they would have to do in order to burn off the calories in a soda or other sugary drink might convince them to choose a lower-calorie beverage, researchers say.
The scientists, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, found teenagers chose healthier drinks or smaller bottles when presented with this information.
They are also calling for fast food restaurants to do the same as it is claimed a double cheeseburger will take a 5.6-mile hike before the calories are burned off.
The findings have been published in the American Journal of Public Health and study leader Professor Sara Bleich said: “People don’t really understand what it means to say a typical soda has 250 calories.
“If you’re going to give people calorie information, there’s probably a better way to do it.
“What our research found is that when you explain calories in an easily understandable way such as how many miles of walking needed to burn them off, you can encourage behaviour change.”