Physical activity calorie expenditure (PACE) labels in worksite cafeterias: effects on physical activity.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Regular physical activity is an important component of healthy living and wellbeing. Current guidelines recommend that adults participate in at least 150 min of moderate or vigorous-intensity physical activity weekly. In spite of the benefits, just over half of U.S. adults meet these recommendations. Calorie-only food labels at points of food purchase have had limited success in motivating people to change eating behaviors and increase physical activity. One new point of purchase approach to promote healthy behaviors is the addition of food labels that display the physical activity requirement needed to burn the calories in a food item (e.g. walk 15 min). METHODS: The Physical Activity Calorie Expenditure (PACE) Study compared activity-based calorie-expenditure food labels with calorie-only labels at three Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina worksite cafeterias. After 1 year of baseline data collection, one cafeteria had food items labeled with PACE labels, two others had calorie-only food labels. Cohort participants were asked to wear an accelerometer and complete a self-report activity questionnaire on two occasions during the baseline year and twice during the intervention year. RESULTS: A total of 366 study participants were included in the analysis. In the PACE-label group, self-reported physical activity increased by 13-26% compared to the calorie-only label group. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) increased by 24 min per week in the PACE-label group compared to the calorie-label group (p = 0.06). Changes in accelerometer measured steps, sedentary time, and MVPA had modest increases. Change ranged from 1 to 12% with effect size values from 0.08 to 0.15. Baseline physical activity level significantly moderated the intervention effects for all physical activity outcomes. Participants in both label groups starting in the lowest tertile of activity saw the largest increase in their physical activity. CONCLUSION: Results suggest small positive effects for the PACE labels on self-reported and objective physical activity measures. Minutes of weekly MVPA, strength training, and exercise activities showed modest increases. These results suggest that calorie-expenditure food labels may result in some limited increases in physical activity.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Deery, CB; Hales, D; Viera, L; Lin, F-C; Liu, Z; Olsson, E; Gras-Najjar, J; Linnan, L; Noar, SM; Ammerman, AS; Viera, AJ

Published Date

  • November 29, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 1596 -

PubMed ID

  • 31783747

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6884791

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-2458

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/s12889-019-7960-1


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England