Food Choices Unaffected by Calorie Counts on Menus

Posted by Tony on February 20, 2011

Food Choices Unaffected by Calorie Counts on Menus

In an attempt to encourage people to make healthier dietary choices and combat obesity, New York City began requiring fast-food restaurants to list the calories of their foods on menus in 2008. To study the effectiveness of this practice, researchers gathered restaurant receipts and surveyed patrons at fast-food restaurants both before and after mandatory labeling began. They found that more than half of teens surveyed noticed the calorie information once it was posted on menus but that only nine percent said it influenced their food choices.

“It means we’re going to have to rethink what other sorts of interventions might be more effective,” Dr. Brian Elbel of NYU, who led the study, said in a telephone interview.

Mandating calorie counts on restaurant menus is part of President Barack Obama’s new healthcare law is included in the White House’s push to reduce rates of obesity, which is one of the biggest health challenges facing the United States.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says two-thirds of American adults and 15 percent of children are overweight or obese. In some states, the childhood obesity rate is above 30 percent……Red More