Calorie Postings Don’t Change Habits, Study Finds

Anemona Hartocollis, New York Times, October 6, 2009


This study focused primarily on poor black and Hispanic fast-food customers in the South Bronx, central Brooklyn, Harlem, Washington Heights and the Rockaways in Queens, and used a similar population in Newark, which does not have a calorie posting law, as a control group. The locations were chosen because of a high proportion of obesity and diabetes among poor minority populations.

The researchers collected about 1,100 receipts, two weeks before the calorie posting law took effect and four weeks after. {snip}

For customers in New York City, orders had a mean of 846 calories after the labeling law took effect. Before the law took effect, it was 825 calories. In Newark, customers ordered about 825 calories before and after.


One advocate of calorie posting suggested that low-income people were more interested in price than calories.


[Editor’s Note: The complete study, “Calorie Labeling and Food Choices:

A First Look at the Effects on Low-Income People In New York City,” by Brian Elbel, Rogan Kersh, Victoria L. Brescoll, and L. Beth Dixon, can be read here.]


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