Merton backs 400-600-600 campaign to help adults tackle ‘calorie creep’

The ‘One You’ campaign has this week revealed that adults consume on average 200 to 300 more calories than they need each day. Also revealed was the fact that a quarter of our calorie intake comes from eating out. In support of the new aspect of the wider One You campaign, major high street food retailers have this week joined Public Health England to support adults in making healthier choices.


Public Health England (PHE)’s campaign launched this new part of the ‘One You’ campaign to help people tackle the ‘calorie creep’ that sees nearly 57% of adults in Merton considered to be overweight or obese – making them the thirteenth most overweight borough in London out of a possible 32.

The campaign provides adults with a simple tip to help them make healthier choices while out and about – to aim for 400-600-600. That’s around 400 calories for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 600 for dinner, plus a couple of healthier snacks and drinks in-between. The tip will help adults reduce excess calorie consumption and stay within their recommended daily intake – 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men each day. This comes as adults are consuming on average 200 to 300 more calories than they need each day. Over time, these extra calories build up and can cause unhealthy weight gain. Excess calories are contributing to our country’s growing obesity problem, causing a range of health issues including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. As well as setting people up for a lifetime of ill health, treating obesity is costing the NHS around £6bn per year.

Adults consume around a quarter (20-25%) of their calories from eating out, with many unsure how many calories they need each day. The new campaign aims to help people be more aware of the calories they consume while on the go and to make healthier choices easier, whether picking up breakfast on the way to work, having lunch at their desks or buying everyday meals.

Councillor Tobin Byers, Merton’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “We are delighted again to be supporting the ‘One You’ campaign which this time is focused on healthy eating choices while out and about.  The 400-600-600 rule of thumb will help us all to join together and get to the recommended daily intake of 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men.  Regardless of where we live in the borough, everyone can join in with this simple eating plan while eating on the go which will bring about a whole lifestyle change benefitting yourself, your family and your wallet.”

Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at PHE, said: “It’s clear that excess calories are driving weight gain for many. Busy lives and too much food mean we’re often eating more food than we realise – especially when we’re grabbing food out and about. This can have a significant impact on our waistlines and our health.”

If you live or work in Merton and would like help with eating well contact One You Merton from 7am until 7pm, 7 days a week on 020 8973 3545 to get friendly support from a local health advisor.

Adults will be signposted to 400 and 600 calorie meal options by partners through advertising, in-store promotion, social media and other online channels. All meals are below maximum recommendations for sugar, saturated fat, salt and calories to help people choose healthier options at-a-glance.



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PHE exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through advocacy, partnerships, world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. For more information on PHE visit or follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk

PHE’s ‘One You’ campaign encourages adults, particularly those in middle age, to make changes to improve their health. The 400:600:600 campaign promotes healthier eating in particular when eating out of home. It provides a simple tip to help keep calories on track  – aim for around 400 calories for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 600 for dinner.  This allows for a couple of healthier snacks as part of a balanced diet of 2000 calories for women and 2500 for men each day.  This campaign is designed to provide a rule of thumb and is not a weight loss programme. The advice is aimed at the general population. It does not apply to those who are underweight.

‘One You’ is unable to give individual dietary advice. If you have or care for those with special dietary requirements, medical needs, eating disorders or require specialised nutrition advice, for example if you are underweight or very overweight, we recommend that you seek guidance from a registered health-care professional.

Something as common as a meal deal of a sandwich, a sugary soft drink and a packet of crisps can contain around 800 calories.* Major retailers – including Greggs, McDonalds, Starbucks and Subway – will provide a range of options to help shoppers find 400 and 600 calorie meals. This will make healthier choices easier for their millions of customers across the UK.


1 Public Health Outcomes Framework. PHE (2015/16)

2 ‘Calorie Reduction: The scope and ambition for action.’ PHE (March 2018)

3 Scarborough P. et al (2011). The economic burden of ill health due to diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol and obesity in the UK: an update to 2006–07 NHS costs. Journal of Public Health; 33 (4): 527-535 Updated to take account of inflation

4 Secondary Analysis of National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) rolling programme years 5&6 combined

* Average calorie content of the cheese and pickle sandwich, crisps and the sugary soft drink were calculated using: McCance and Widdowson’s the Composition of Foods: Seventh Summary Edition, Public Health England, Food Standards Agency, 2014.  Food Portion Sizes(MAFF Handbook), 3 edition, Food Standards Agency, 2002