Figures highlight worrying lack of calorie knowledge in Northern Ireland
ONLY 15 per cent of men in Northern Ireland know their recommended daily calorie intake, new research has shown.
This compares with 44 per cent of women, according to figures from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
To help tackle this issue, the FSA has launched a new campaign, Know Your Calories, to increase awareness of the recommended daily calorie intake in the north.
While the amount of calories can vary based on a variety of factors like age and amount of daily activity, the general guide is 2,000 per day for women and 2,500 for men.
The campaign urges people to know their recommended daily calorie intake and check content on food labels on packaged foods and on menus when eating out.
Maria Jennings, the FSA’s Northern Ireland director, said the research shows many people are unaware of their recommended daily calorie intake and are confused about where to check for information.
"We also know that only half of adults in Northern Ireland have seen calorie information at restaurants and cafes," she added.
"This campaign will help people understand how many calories they should eat a day and where to find calorie information on food labels and menus when eating out.
"We want to help people make better choices when it comes to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle."
The research also found that 60 per cent of Northern Ireland adults think their personal eating habits are healthy.
However, this is at odds with the fact that 63 per cent of adults in the north are overweight or obese, according to the department of health.
Commenting on the research, Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride said that, while the figures are worrying, he hopes the campaign can help people here lead healthier lifestyles.
"These statistics are worrying and as health professionals we have a duty of care and a key role to play in raising awareness so that people know more about calories which will help them make the right choices about living healthier lifestyles," he said.
"This campaign links directly into the government’s programme to promote healthier lifestyles so that ultimately we can all enjoy long, healthy, active lives.
"It also complements the government’s obesity prevention strategy, 'A Fitter Future for All 2012-22' where food provision and choices within health and social care have been highlighted as an important area for development."
In addition to making the public aware of how many calories men and women should consume, the campaign will also communicate the health implications of regularly consuming too many calories.