232183 Chain restaurant nutrition labeling: An overview of implementation and evaluation in New York City, Portland/Multnomah County, Seattle/King County, and Philadelphia

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

James Krieger, MD, MPH , Prevention, Public Health - Seattle and King County, Seattle, WA
Obesity is a major public health issue, in part fueled by excessive caloric intake. The number of meals purchased away-from-home has nearly doubled over the past two decades. Restaurant foods are typically higher in calories than home-cooked meals. Compared to eating at home, children consume about twice as many calories when they eat away-from-home foods. Consumers routinely underestimate the calorie content of menu items, yet information regarding menu item nutritional content is inconsistently available. Limited, although not definitive, evidence suggests that people make more healthful choices when such information is available at the point-of-purchase. To address this concern, mandatory menu labeling has been adopted in several locales and has been approved by the federal government to become a nationwide policy.

New York City, Portland/Multnomah County, Seattle/King County and Philadelphia, PA have implemented regulations requiring chain restaurants to provide nutrition information at the point-of- purchase. At all sites, the regulations cover chain restaurants with at least 15 stores nationally and require that information on calories be available to customers at the point of purchase before ordering. Sites differ regarding method of information display; inclusion of additional information on fat, sodium and carbohydrates; types of foods subject to labeling; and penalties for non-compliance. The details of the federal law have not yet been specified. All sites are implementing a natural experiment evaluation by collecting point-of-purchase customer surveys and receipts from at least two time points on awareness and use of nutrition information and on customer purchases. Sample sizes range from 2500 to 11,000 customers. To describe changes in menu items, each site is conducting pre-post menu audits. Additional evaluation methods being used at some sites include population-level surveys on awareness and use, telephone surveys, analysis of sales data, assessment of restaurant nutrition environments, and qualitative analysis of regulation implementation and impact.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the highlights of nutrition-labeling regulations in NYC, Philadelphia, Portland/Multnomah and Seattle/King County and the federal regulations Compare the similarities and differences across sites in the methods being used to evaluate the impact of the regulations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have developed, implemented and am evaluating a nutrition labeling regulation in Seattle/King County and have convened a three-site panel to discuss such regulations across sites
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.