Calorie information may not change choices

Oct. 7, 2009 at 1:19 AM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- About 25 percent of consumers indicated that calorie information at fast-food restaurants influenced their food choices, U.S. researchers said.

Brian Elbel of New York University's Langone Medical Center compared New York fast-food eating -- which has implemented calorie labeling in fast-food restaurants -- to Newark, N.J., which has no calorie labeling requirement.

The study, which focused on low-income areas in New York, found that posting calories increased the percentage of consumers who saw calorie information to 54 percent, and approximately 25 percent of these consumers indicated that the information was influential in their food choices.

Data were collected before labeling began, and one month after labels were posted in restaurants in New York. As adults were leaving fast food restaurants, they were asked to participate in a brief survey, their receipts were collected and the foods they purchased were confirmed.

The study was published as a Web exclusive in the journal Health Affairs.

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