Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One in six fast-food customers cut calories after US food labeling system introduction

Date:
July 27, 2011
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Around a sixth of fast food customers used calorie information and, on average, bought food with lower calories since the introduction of a labeling system in the US, says a new study.

Around a sixth of fast food customers used calorie information and, on average, bought food with lower calories since the introduction of a labelling system in the US, says a new study published on the British Medical Journal website.

Related Articles


US researchers found there has been a small but positive impact from a law introduced in 2008 in New York requiring chain restaurants with 15 or more branches nationally to provide calorie information on menus and menu boards in the city.

Obesity rates in the US are at an all time high in both adults and children and currently a third of adults and 17% of children and teenagers are obese. Several studies support an association between fast food consumption and excessive energy intake, but customers often underestimate the number of calories in restaurant meals and before 2007, nutrition information was seldom available at the point of purchase.

So a team of researchers decided to assess the impact of the calorie labelling regulation on the energy content of individual purchases at fast food restaurants in New York City. High street chains in England are about to embark on a similar, though voluntary scheme, as part of the government's Public Health Responsibility Deal.

Surveys were carried out during lunchtime hours in spring 2007 (one year before the regulation) and in spring 2009 (nine months after its implementation) at 168 randomly selected locations of the top 11 fast food chains in the city.

Adult customers provided register receipts and answered survey questions. Data from 7,309 customers in 2007 and 8,489 customers in 2009 were analysed.

Overall, there was no decline in calories purchased across the full sample. However, three major chains saw significant reductions.

For example, at McDonalds, average energy per purchase fell by 5.3%, at Au Bon Pain, it fell by 14.4% and at KFC, it dropped by 6.4%. Together, these three chains represented 42% of all customers in the study.

However, average energy content increased at one chain -- Subway -- by 17.8% where large portions were heavily promoted.

Analysis also showed that 15% of customers reported using the calorie information and, on average, these customers purchased 106 fewer kilocalories than customers who did not see or use the calorie information.

The researchers say that calorie labelling is only one part of a framework to address the obesity epidemic and call for additional strategies to reduce energy intake on a population basis. "Special attention should be focused on educating customers on how to interpret and use nutrition information," they conclude.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr Susan Jebb from the MRC Human Nutrition Research Centre in Cambridge believes that labelling is a step forward, but changes in food supply must follow. She writes: "Calorie labelling will help consumers make an informed choice about what they eat, but sustained improvements in the nation's diet will require a transformation of the food supply too."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. T. Dumanovsky, C. Y. Huang, C. A. Nonas, T. D. Matte, M. T. Bassett, L. D. Silver. Changes in energy content of lunchtime purchases from fast food restaurants after introduction of calorie labelling: cross sectional customer surveys. BMJ, 2011; 343 (jul26 1): d4464 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d4464
  2. S. A. Jebb. Calorie labelling on the high street. BMJ, 2011; 343 (jul26 1): d4502 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d4502

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "One in six fast-food customers cut calories after US food labeling system introduction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110726213458.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2011, July 27). One in six fast-food customers cut calories after US food labeling system introduction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110726213458.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "One in six fast-food customers cut calories after US food labeling system introduction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110726213458.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins