Menu calorie counts don’t inspire kids to eat healthier

Requiring New York City restaurants to post counts lead to decreased calorie intake

Children and adolescents have taken notice of the calorie counts that New York City’s fast food restaurants are required to post, but it hasn’t inspired them to cut the number of calories they’re consuming, according to U.S. researchers. A new study published in the International Journal of Obesity suggests that calorie labelling might not actually impact the buying behaviour of teens, or of parents who buy food for their kids. President Barack Obama’s new health care law aims to reduce rates of obesity by measures like mandating calorie countes on restaurant menus, and New York was the first U.S. city to do so, in 2008. But a New York University team surveyed 427 parents and teens at fast food restaurants, before and after the labelling became mandatory, and found that after labelling, 57 per cent of teens had noticed the information and 9 said it had influenced their choices. But they didn’t see any changes in the number of calories.


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