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Calorie listings on menus lead to healthier childrens' diets, says study

Posted On Tue, January 26, 2010

Parents who are given menus listing the calorie amounts for food products are more likely to choose a healthy dish for their child, according to a new report released by scientists at the University of Washington.

The study consisted of 100 parents and their children who were given fake fast food menus to order food for their children - with some menus containing calorie counts while others did not. The results found that parents who had access to the calorie counts ended up ordering healthier items for their kids that contained 20 percent fewer for their children.

"At a time when menu labeling is being discussed throughout country at the national level, I think these results support the idea that an informed parent will be able to make smarter healthier choices for their child," said Dr. Pooja Tandon of the University of Washington, according to Med Page Today.

While only a few states, such as California and Oregon, and cities such as New York have mandated that restaurants post calorie counts on their menus, the UW study also found that 86 percent of fast food restaurants only provided health information on their websites.

However, until there is more widespread acceptance of calorie counts on menus, it will remain more difficult for parents to keep their child from unhealthy eating. Given the wealth of health problems that can be borne out of obesity in either children or adults, families should make sure to keep their health insurance updated in order to be ready in the event of any medical costs.

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