Most people use calorie information at fast food restaurants, when they read it

Nov. 22, 2013, Journal of Public Health

According to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adults who read calorie information when it is available at fast food and chain restaurants tend to use the information when purchasing food. The authors, including Heidi Blanck, chief of CDC’s Obesity Prevention and Control Branch and member of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research, found that 95.4 percent of those who read calorie information used it at least sometimes when making their food choices. The study was published online this week in the Journal of Public Health.

Researchers examined sociodemographic variables in a sample of 4,363 adults using the 2009 HealthStyles survey. The findings showed that though most adults who read the calorie labels tended to use them, only 36.4 percent reported actually reading calorie information when available. This finding held true regardless of race, income, or education.

The study also found that women were nearly twice as likely to read calorie information when available compared to men. Additionally, adults who ate at fast food or chain restaurants three or more times per week were less likely to read calorie information than those going less than four times per month.

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