Menu labeling is a public health policy that requires chain restaurants in the USA to post kilocalorie information on their menus to help consumers make informed choices. However, there is concern that such a policy might promote disordered eating. This web-based study compared individuals with self-reported binge eating disorder (N = 52), bulimia nervosa (N = 25), and purging disorder (N = 17) and those without eating disorders (No ED) (N = 277) on restaurant calorie information knowledge and perceptions of menu labeling legislation. On average, people answered 1.46 ± 1.08 questions correctly (out of 6) (25 %) on a calorie information quiz and 92 % of the sample was in favor of menu labeling. The findings did not differ based on eating disorder, dieting, or weight status, or race/ethnicity. The results indicated that people have difficulty estimating the calories in restaurant meals and individuals with and without eating disorders are largely in favor of menu labeling laws.
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Acknowledgments Marney A. White is supported by National Institutes of Health Grant K23 DK071646, which provided funding for this study. The authors would like to thank Margo Wootan, D.Sc. and the Center for Science in the Public Interest for permission to use their restaurant calorie information quiz. The authors would also like to thank the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program for its financial support.
- Calorie estimation
- Eating disorders
- Menu labeling