Public Health England News and Media

06 Mar 2018

EMBARGOED PHE PRESS RELEASE: 400-600-600 campaign launches to help adults tackle ‘calorie creep’

  • Adults consume on average 200 to 300 more calories than they need each day.
  • Around a quarter of our calorie intake comes from eating out.
  • Major high street food retailers join Public Health England to support adults in making healthier choices.

Public Health England (PHE) today launches its new ‘One You’ campaign to help people tackle the ‘calorie creep’ that sees 61.1% of adults in the South West as overweight or obese.[1]

The new campaign provides adults with a simple tip to help them make healthier choices while out and about – 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.[2] 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.[3]

Adults consume around a quarter (20-25%) of their calories from eating out[4], 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 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.

For most people, grabbing lunch is the norm – but consuming too many calories is easier than people may think. 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.

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.

“The 400-600-600 tip can help people make healthier choices when eating and drinking on the go. It’s encouraging to see major high street companies promoting lower calorie options and we hope more will follow suit.”

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.


For further information about 400-600-600, please contact the PHE South West Press Office, 2 Rivergate, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6EH. For further information, please contact 0117 968 9161. Follow us on Twitter: @PHE_SouthWest@PHE_uk.

Partner quotes:

Roger Whiteside, chief executive at Greggs: “We are proud to be working in partnership with Public Health England to support the ‘One You’ campaign. We know that choice is very important to our customers and while our traditional favourites are much loved, we are also able to offer our customers a variety of healthier options that they can enjoy on-the-go, including products from our Balanced Choice range which are all less than 400 calories. To support this campaign, we will be providing information in our shops as well as on our customer website to highlight our breakfast and lunch combinations which meet the 400-600-600 rule of thumb.”

Victoria Hodson, Vice President, Business Strategy & Insight, McDonald’s UK: “We have long been committed in helping our customers make the choices that are right for them – displaying nutritional information since 1984, as well as providing menu options such as Fruit Bags, Carrot Bags, wraps and salads. 

“Our support for Public Health England’s One You campaign is an extension of this, and part of our ongoing commitment to continue to work in partnership, to help people confidently make informed choices about what they eat at McDonald’s.  At the start of this year, we rolled out new ‘Meals Under’ menu bundles, bringing together a range of our meal options under 400 or 600 calories. The bundles are clearly displayed on our self-order screens and show customers a main menu item, a drink and a side for breakfast, lunch or dinner – making it simple for people to follow the One You 400-600-600 rule of thumb when eating on the go. Our bundles include many of our customers’ favourites including the Egg and Cheese McMuffin, McChicken Sandwich, Chicken McNuggets and our Big Flavour Wraps.”

Sara Bruce-Goodwin, VP Research & Development, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa: “We are committed to helping customers make informed choices when it comes to the food and drink they choose in our stores, and we were one of the first to display calories on our menu boards. We’re delighted to partner with Public Health England (PHE) for its new ‘One You’ campaign and will be showing customers how to choose delicious breakfast and lunch menu combinations that fit the 400 and 600 calorie rule of thumb. We will continue to work on introducing new innovations for our menu, including working towards PHE’s sugar and calorie reduction targets, where we have already made great progress.”

Sacha Clark, Marketing Director of Subway® UK and Ireland: "As the category leader in offering healthier on-the-go menu choices, we are delighted to support Public Health England’s One You campaign.  With an extensive range of Six-inch Subs, salads and flatbreads that are less than 600 calories, we are helping our customers keep within their daily calorie recommendation.  It’s really important that customers looking to make healthier meal choices know their daily recommended intake of calories.  What’s more, Subway® provides a choice of breads, including 9-grain wheat bread that’s high in fibre. Choose all the salad in a Six-inch Sub and you are guaranteed to get one of your 5-a-day for fruit and veg. It’s a choice we know very few other high street operators can offer their customers.”

Contact Information

Gemma Fear
Senior Communications Officer, PHE South West
Public Health England
0117 968 9161
07929 826205

Notes to editors

  • Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. We do this through world-leading science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. We are an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, and a distinct delivery organisation with operational autonomy. We provide government, local government, the NHS, Parliament, industry and the public with evidence-based professional, scientific and delivery expertise and support. Website: Twitter: @PHE_uk, Facebook:
  • 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.

References and further data

Adjusted, age-standardised prevalence of underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obesity among adults (18+) in England, 2015-16

Area Name

% Excess Weight



North East                              


North West


Yorkshire and the Humber     


East Midlands


West Midlands


East of England         




South East


South West


Percentage of adults (aged 18+) classified as overweight or obese (2015/16) – data from

Local Authority area

Percentage of adults (aged 18+) classified as overweight or obese (2015/16)

Bath and North East Somerset 














Isles of Scilly  


North Somerset         








South Gloucestershire           








[*] 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

[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