Calorie Postings Don’t Change Habits, Study Finds

Anemona Hartocollis, New York Times, October 6, 2009

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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.

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

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[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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