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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2013 Nov-Dec;45(6):669-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2013.06.005. Epub 2013 Aug 6.

Efficacy and consumer preferences for different approaches to calorie labeling on menus.

Author information

1
School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the efficacy and consumer preferences of calorie labeling on menus.

DESIGN:

Between-group experiment. Participants were randomized to view menu items according to 1 of 4 experimental conditions: no calorie information, calorie-only information, calorie plus health statement (HS), and calorie plus the Physical Activity Scale. Participants selected a snack and then rated menus from all conditions on the level of understanding and perceived effectiveness.

SETTING:

University of Waterloo, Canada.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 213 undergraduate university students recruited from classrooms.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The calorie amount of menu selection and ratings of understandability and perceived effectiveness.

ANALYSIS:

Linear regression models and chi-square tests.

RESULTS:

Participants who selected items from menus without calorie information selected snacks with higher calorie amounts than participants in the calorie-only condition (P = .002) and the calorie plus HS condition (P = .001). The calorie plus HS menu was perceived as most understandable and the calorie plus calorie plus Physical Activity Scale menu was perceived as most effective in helping to promote healthy eating.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

Calorie labeling on menus may assist consumers in making healthier choices, with consumer preference for menus that include contextual health statements.

KEYWORDS:

consumer health information; health policy; menu planning; nutrition labeling

PMID:
23928179
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneb.2013.06.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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