Calorie estimation accuracy and menu labeling perceptions among individuals with and without binge eating and/or purging disorders

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Abstract

Menu labeling is a public health policy that requires chain restaurants in the USA to post kilocalorie information on their menus to help consumers make informed choices. However, there is concern that such a policy might promote disordered eating. This web-based study compared individuals with self-reported binge eating disorder (N = 52), bulimia nervosa (N = 25), and purging disorder (N = 17) and those without eating disorders (No ED) (N = 277) on restaurant calorie information knowledge and perceptions of menu labeling legislation. On average, people answered 1.46 ± 1.08 questions correctly (out of 6) (25 %) on a calorie information quiz and 92 % of the sample was in favor of menu labeling. The findings did not differ based on eating disorder, dieting, or weight status, or race/ethnicity. The results indicated that people have difficulty estimating the calories in restaurant meals and individuals with and without eating disorders are largely in favor of menu labeling laws.