Studying the influence of calorie labeling on the food choices of families and adolescents

The Foundation's program, Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity, was designed to support investigator-initiated research to identify and assess environmental and policy influences with the greatest potential to improve healthy eating and weight patterns among the nation's children.In New York City, a new policy now being implemented mandates city-wide calorie labeling posted on the menu boards of all fast food restaurants. In assessing this policy, this study has two specific aims: (1) to determine the influence of such calorie labeling on individual food choice, and (2) to establish why this calorie labeling does or does not influence food choice. Data will be evaluated as part of a pre-/post- study design with a control city (Newark, New Jersey). Approximately one month before and after labeling was introduced, data were collected via an on-the-ground receipt collection and survey outside of fast food restaurants, resulting in approximately 1,400 total responses. The primary outcome of interest in this research is the change in calories consumed; also important is the proportion of individuals in the sample who report that they observed and utilized the calorie labels. In addition to the common dissemination channels of academic papers and conferences, investigators will also reach out to policy makers in the more than 20 cities and states that are actively considering or have passed this initiative into law.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $50,000.00

Awarded on: 11/19/2008

Time frame: 12/15/2008 - 6/14/2010

Grant Number: 65634


New York University School of Medicine

550 1st Avenue
New York, 10016-6402


Brian D. Elbel
Project Director