Over the past two weeks, news outlets throughout the U.S. have been reporting the data recently published in Health Affairs, showing that menu labeling in NYC isn't working1. New data released today by the New York Department of Health at the Obesity Society's annual meeting in Washington, DC, showed that menu-labeling actually is having an impact!
The previous study, conducted by researchers from NYU and Yale, had a sample size of only 1,156 New Yorkers, from low-income neighborhoods. Data was collected immediately before and after the law went into effect, and found no significant difference in the number of calories purchased.
However the new data released today, was collected over two years, and included data from 10,000 New York City residents dining at 13 chain food and coffee chains in 275 locations throughout the city. The results showed that gradually, more and more consumers are learning about the nutrition information that is posted, and over one quarter of those who noticed the information used it to guide their food decisions2.
Dr. Lynn Silver, who presented the data, discussed the findings saying, “Dietary change is likely to come gradually; it will start with consumers interested in making informed, healthy eating decisions and we hope industry will respond by offering more healthier choices and appropriate portion sizes3.” The sooner we get menu labeling legislation passed, the sooner consumers will accept menu labeling as normal, and will start using this information to improve their health.
But we can't get this legislation passed without your help! Put pressure on David Catania to call a public hearing on the issue of menu labeling in DC. The bill can't get voted on until this happens, so show him that you care! It just takes a minute to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
1Elbel B., Kersh R., Brescoll VL and Beth L. Calorie Labeling and Food Choices: A First Look at the Effect on Low-Income People in New York City. Health Affairs-Web Exclusive. October 6, 2009.
2 O'Riordas, M. Experts weigh in on calorie lists on menus, despite "mixed" science. http://www.theheart.org/article/1015787.do#bib_3
3Morgan, D. New York Study Says Menu Labeling Affects Behavior. Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/governmentFilingsNews/idUSN2620087120091026?sp=true