Online Program

Daily caloric recommendations (messages and calculating) aide in reducing overall calories chosen from a mock lunch menu

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ashley Baker, Department of Psychology, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA
Nathaly Pachaceo-Santivanez, Department of Psychology, California State University, Northridge, Northridge
Jill L Quilici, PhD, Department of Psychology, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA
Introduction For Americans, eating out at restaurants and fast-food establishments has become a frequent reality. Previous research on caloric messages on menus has been inconsistent. Methods Participants (N=231, 54.5% males, Mage = 19.7) were asked to complete questionnaires after selecting a hypothetical meal from mock menus that included calorie information. Half of those participants were randomly selected to complete a calculator that estimates calories needed daily to maintain current body weight at the very beginning of the session. A between-subjects ANCOVA was performed on total calories chosen to examine the influence of gender, menu message (2,000 recommended daily caloric intake vs. no message), and calorie calculator condition (completed vs not completed), adjusting for the covariates of “How knowledgeable do you think you are about nutrition?” and “How often do you make healthy meal choices?” Results The covariates were significantly related to total calories chosen, p<.001. In support of our hypotheses, significant main effects of gender and menu message were revealed, p<.05. Overall, participants who received the 2,000 recommended daily caloric intake message consequently selected fewer calories from the menu. An interaction between calorie calculator and gender was also significant, p. <05. A post-hoc analysis revealed that men in the calculator condition selected fewer calories than men who did not complete the calculator. However, women who calculated their maintenance calories before selecting their hypothetical lunch actually selected more calories than women who did not calculate their calories. Conclusions/Discussion The implications of this research on food and nutrition will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the implications of reducing caloric intake at restaurant settings through daily caloric intake awareness. Evaluate the effectiveness of menu messages informing restaurant patrons of recommended daily caloric intake compared to no menu message. Identify the use of calculating daily caloric recommendations to maintain current body weight before selecting food choices off of a menu.

Keyword(s): Food and Nutrition, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an experimental psychology graduate student who studies judgement and decision making primarily within health. For this project I conducted literature reviews and analyzed the data.
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.