Online Program

Association between demographic characteristics and fast food menu labeling use and awareness among adults living in the Southwest

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jessie Green, MS, RDN, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, PhD, RD, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Introduction: Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires food establishments with 20 or more locations nation-wide to list calorie content information on restaurant menus. The Food and Drug Administration is in the process of establishing guidelines for implementing this requirement. This study aims to assess the association between demographic characteristics of restaurant patrons and their likelihood noticing and using calorie menu labels to make food and beverage selections at a major fast food restaurant chain that has implemented menu labeling ahead of the FDA guidance. We will also explore if patrons who notice menu labels purchase fewer calories than those who do not and if these differences are related to demographic characteristics. Methods: Street-intercept surveys are being conducted with fast food patrons at 16 restaurant locations in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Participation requires patrons to complete a brief survey and donate their itemized receipt, showing food and beverage purchases. Results: Data from over 300 restaurant patrons will be used to assess which demographic groups were more likely to notice and use menu labels and if noticing menu labels was associated with purchasing fewer calories. Discussion: The overall goal of the policy is to help consumers make healthier choices when eating out. However, if there are disparities in consumers' ability to notice or use menu labeling then additional measures may be needed to ensure that this policy is effective and benefits all individuals and that everyone has an equal opportunity to make healthy selections.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe demographic differences in restaurant patron’s ability to notice and use calorie menu labels Discuss the importance of considering demographic disparities when creating and implementing strategies to promote use of calorie menu labeling

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am working on this project as part of my Master’s thesis for the Master of Science Human Nutrition Program at Arizona State University. I am working under the guidance of Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, PhD, RD, whose area of expertise is the effect of food environments on behaviors and health outcomes.
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.