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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3948

Title: An Exploratory Analysis of Fast-food Chain Restaurant Menus Before and After Local Calorie Labeling Policies, 2005-2011
Authors: Namba, Alexa
Keywords: Public Health;Fast Food;Nutritional Labeling
Issue Date: 3-Dec-2012
Abstract: BACKGROUND: In recent years, regulation requiring the posting of nutritional information at chain restaurants has been implemented in municipalities across the country to combat rising obesity rates. While early research into the effect of such labels on consumer decisions has shown mixed results, no quantitative assessment into the restaurant industry’s response to these mandates has been conducted. OBJECTIVE/AIMS: This project aimed to evaluate the impact of menu-labeling regulation on fast-food menu offerings during 7 years, 2005-2011. METHODS: Using the nutrition menus from five case (Arby’s, KFC, Long John Silver’s, SONIC, and Wendy’s) and four control restaurants (Bojangles', Culver's, Hardee’s, and Whataburger), this exploratory study compared fast-food chain menu offerings in areas currently under the menu labeling mandate and outside of those jurisdictions. A trend analysis of menu items pre and post-menu labeling legislation quantitatively assessed whether these regulations motivated restaurants to increase their ‘healthier’ menu options (qualified as “healthier” on a number of nutritional criteria) or modify the nutritional content of their existing menu items. RESULTS: Over the past 7 years, the average calories for a adult a la carte entrees has remained moderately high (approximately 450 calories, standard deviation of 190), with no clear systematic differences between restaurant chains in case vs. control areas. While the overall prevalence of 'healthier' options remains low, a noteworthy increase in the prevalence of healthier entrees was seen at case locations relative to controls after menu labeling regulation in several jurisdictions (from 13% to 20% at case locations vs. remaining static at 8% at control locations, test for difference in the trend p=0.02). The prevalence of a “healthier” a la carte entrée for children also increased (72% to 79% among cases vs. remaining at 6% among controls). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that menu labeling has thus far not motivated restaurants to improve their menus overall but may motivate restaurants to slightly increase healthier options.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3948
Appears in Collections:Health Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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