The obesity epidemic that is taking place in America does not have to be proven, it is obvious by just looking around that America is growing in size. Obesity has become an enormous public health problem that is increasing with teenagers especially, and new laws have been created in order to fight back. The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010” enforces that all menus list the calorie counts of each of their dishes, in order to influence customers to choose healthy options. Through surveys and interviews, NYU Professor Dr. Elbel gathered information that actually showed how most teenagers who were dining out were not affected by the calorie listings at all. In fact, the number of calories that teenagers consumed after reading the labels were on average the same as before- about 725 calories per sitting.
When asked what influenced teenagers to buy the food that they do, taste and price were the most important reason, while weight control was a slim response. The study also showed that most teens underestimate the calories that they purchased, some up to almost 500 calories. The eating habits of growing teenagers have become worse with the rising demand of fast food chains and the need for convenience. Though calorie labeling is a start to attempt to fight obesity, it has shown that it is certainly not enough. Other public policy approaches need to be enforced in order to fight a growing epidemic that can easily be prevented.
Title: Calorie Labeling Has Barely Any Effect on Teenager’s or Parents’ Food Purchases
Author: Brian Elbel
Source: NYU School of Medicine, February 15, 2011
Direct Link: http://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2011/02/15/calorie-labeling-has-no-effect-on-teenagers-or-parents-food-purchases.html
Student Researcher: Elizabeth Michael, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Dr. Daniel Crocker, Sonoma State University