SEATTLE, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Parents who have access to fast-food menus with calorie information tend to choose lower calorie selections for their children, U.S. researchers say.
Study leader Dr. Pooja S. Tandon of Seattle Children's Research Institute said the study involved 99 parents of children ages 3-6, who sometimes eat in fast-food restaurants with their children. They were presented with sample McDonald's restaurant menus which included current prices and pictures of items, and asked what they would select for themselves and also for their children as a typical meal.
Half of the parents were given menus that also clearly showed calorie information for each item. Choices included most of the items sold at McDonald's, including a variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads, dressings, side items, beverages, desserts and "Happy Meals."
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found parents who were given the calorie information chose 102 fewer calories on average -- a calorie reduction of approximately 20 percent -- for their children, compared with the group who did not have access to calorie information on their menus.
"Even modest calorie adjustments on a regular basis can avert weight gain and lead to better health over time," Tandon said in a statement. "Just an extra 100 calories per day may equate to about 10 pounds of weight gain per year."
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