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BMC Obes. 2014 Sep 24;1:21. doi: 10.1186/s40608-014-0021-5. eCollection 2014.

The effect of menu labeling with calories and exercise equivalents on food selection and consumption.

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City University of New York School of Public Health, Hunter College, Nutrition and Food Science Program, Hunter College, Silberman Bldg, 2180 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10035 USA.
CUNY School of Public Health, Graduate Center, New York, USA.
Department of Applied Mathematics and Institute of Statistics, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung City, Taiwan.
Department of Healthcare Administration, Asia University, Taichung City, Taiwan.
The University of Scranton, Scranton, PA USA.



Better techniques are needed to help consumers make lower calorie food choices. This pilot study examined the effect of menu labeling with caloric information and exercise equivalents (EE) on food selection. Participants, 62 females, ages 18-34, recruited for this study, ordered a fast food meal with menus that contained the names of the food (Lunch 1 (L1), control meal). One week later (Lunch 2 (L2), experiment meal), participants ordered a meal from one of three menus with the same items as the previous week: no calorie information, calorie information only, or calorie information and EE.


There were no absolute differences between groups in calories ordered from L1 to L2. However, it is noteworthy that calorie only and calorie plus exercise equivalents ordered about 16% (206 kcal) and 14% (162 kcal) fewer calories from Lunch 1 to Lunch 2, respectively; whereas, the no information group ordered only 2% (25 kcal) fewer.


Menu labeling alone may be insufficient to reduce calories; however, further research is needed in finding the most effective ways of presenting the menu labels for general public.


Exercise equivalents; Fast food; Menu labeling; Nutrition labeling; Obesity; Point-of-purchase

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