Point-of-Purchase Calorie Labeling Has Little Influence on Calories Ordered Regardless of Body Mass Index
- 472 Downloads
The obesity epidemic has incited legislation aimed to inform consumers of the nutritional value of food items available in restaurants and fast food establishments, with the presumption that knowing the caloric content in a meal might enable patrons to make healthier choices when ordering. However, available research shows mixed results regarding consumers’ use of calorie information to promote healthier purchases. The aim of this study was to determine whether menu type, specifically having viewed a menu with calorie disclosures or not, would have an impact on how many calories were in a lunch meal ordered by a patron. Additionally, we sought to identify body mass index (BMI) as a moderator of the relationship between viewing a menu with or without calorie information and the number of calories an individual orders for lunch. Two hundred forty-five adults participated in the study and completed the questionnaire. Results indicated neither menu type, nor reporting having seen calorie information, was significantly related to the number of calories in the foods that participants ordered, even after controlling demographic variables age, sex, income, education, race/ethnicity, and BMI. BMI did not serve as a moderator in the relationship between menu type and food calories ordered. Implications for policy change and clinical work with overweight and obese patients are discussed.
KeywordsObesity Calorie labeling Body mass index Health care reform Menu
Compliance with Ethics Guidelines
Conflict of Interest
Sarah Litman Rendell and Charles Swencionis declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance
- 4.Wansink B, Chandon P. Meal size, not body size, explains errors in estimating the calorie content of meals. Ann Intern Med. 2006.Google Scholar
- 5.Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, 3562, House of Representatives. 1990.Google Scholar
- 9.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration. New menu and vending machines labeling requirements. 2011; Retrieved from FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/ucm217762.htm.
- 10.•Swartz JJ, Braxton D, Viera AJ. Calorie menu labeling on quick-service restaurant menus: an updated systematic review of the literature. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2011;8:135–43. This study provides a review of seven recently published experimental or quasi-experimental studies that evaluate the impact of calorie labeling in quick-service restaurants.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 11.•Dumanovsky T, et al. Changes in energy content of lunchtime purchases from fast food restaurants after introduction of calorie labelling: cross sectional customer surveys. Br Med J. 2011;343. This study compares calories purchased in popular New York City fast food restaurants before and after implementation of regulation requiring calorie disclosure. Google Scholar