'CALORIE creep' is being targeted in a new campaign launched by Public Health England (PHE) today.

With almost two-thirds (61.1 per cent) of adults in the South West overweight or obese, the health agency is aiming to help people make healthier food choices.

Its research shows that adults are consuming on average 200 to 300 more calories than needed which build up over time.

The new campaign provides adults with a simple tip to help them make healthier choices while out and about – setting a target of about 400 calories for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 600 for dinner, plus a couple of healthier snacks and drinks inbetween.

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.

Obesity is a growing problem in the UK, with excess calories contributing to the problem.

It causes a range of health issues including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. It is estimated that it is costing the NHS about £6 billion each year.

The new campaign aims to help people be more aware of the calories they consume on the go and to make healthier choices easier.

Something as common as a supermarket meal deal of a sandwich, a sugary soft drink and a packet of crisps can contain 800 calories.

Major retailers – including Greggs, McDonalds, Starbucks and Subway – will now provide a range of options to help shoppers find 400 and 600 calorie meals. 

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.”

Customers will be signposted to 400 and 600 calorie meal options through advertising, in-store promotions, social media and other online channels.

All meals highlighted will be below maximum recommendations for sugar, saturated fat, salt and calories to help people choose healthier options.