How long does it take to walk off your meal?
Researchers say knowledge may be key to getting people to opt for healthier food choices.
A recent study published in the journal Appetite, looked at the eating habits of 300 people between the ages of 18 and 30. The participants were provided three types of menus: one that included calorie counts; another that included calorie counts along with the amount of brisk walking needed to walk off their meals and a menu that only had food options and no information about calories or walking requirements.
“All menus contained the same food and beverage options, which included burgers, chicken sandwiches and tenders, salad, fries, desserts, soda and water,” said lead researcher, Ashlei James in an online statement.
The results were powerful and revealing. For example, researchers found that if a woman ate a quarter-pound double cheeseburger, she’d have to walk briskly for two hours to work it off. And when participants, both men and women, knew exactly how much brisk walking was required to work off meals, it certainly curbed their appetites.
“This study suggests there are benefits to displaying exercise minutes to a group of young men and women,” another senior author said in a statement.
Researchers say they chose brisk walking as the exercise of choice because it is an easily attainable goal and doesn’t require any equipment. They are hopeful menus like the one used in the study could potentially help people reduce how much food they choose to consume.
Julie Bearden, group exercise supervisor at the Advocate Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill. says she also can see the benefit of the researchers choosing brisk walking.
“Walking is a great comparative exercise for this study,” she says. “It can done every day, anywhere and is good for people at any fitness level.”
Another important reminder about the study is that the results only applied to men and women ages 18 to 30.
“We can’t generalize to a population over age 30, so we will further investigate this in an older and more diverse group,” a leader author for the study said.
About the Author
Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Aurora Health. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.