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PLoS One. 2017 Feb 9;12(2):e0171188. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171188. eCollection 2017.

Traffic-light labels could reduce population intakes of calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium.

Author information

1
Department of Human Nutrition, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
2
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

Traffic-light labelling has been proposed as a public health intervention to improve the dietary intakes of consumers.

OBJECTIVES:

to model the potential impact of avoiding foods with red traffic lights on the label on the energy, total fat, saturated fat, sodium, and sugars intakes of Canadian adults.

METHODS:

Canadian adults aged 19 and older (n = 19,915) who responded to the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), Cycle 2.2. The nutrient levels in foods consumed by Canadians in CCHS were profiled using the United Kingdom's criteria for traffic light labelling. Whenever possible, foods assigned a red traffic light for one or more of the profiled nutrients were replaced with a similar food currently sold in Canada, with nutrient levels not assigned any red traffic lights. Average intakes of calories, total fat, saturated fat, sodium, and sugars under the traffic light scenario were compared with actual intakes of calories and these nutrients (baseline) reported in CCHS.

RESULTS:

Under the traffic light scenario, Canadian's intake of energy, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium were significantly reduced compared to baseline; sugars intakes were not significantly reduced. Calorie intake was reduced by 5%, total fat 13%, saturated fat 14%, and sodium 6%.

CONCLUSION:

Governments and policy makers should consider the adoption of traffic light labelling as a population level intervention to improve dietary intakes and chronic disease risk.

PMID:
28182630
PMCID:
PMC5300258
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0171188
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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