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September 3, 2014

Potential Benefits of Calorie Labeling in Restaurants

Author Affiliations
  • 1Obesity Prevention Program, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2014;312(9):887-888. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.9239

Provisions in the 2010 Affordable Care Act will require chain restaurants with 20 or more US locations to display calorie information on their menus, including drive-through menu boards. The US Food and Drug Administration released preliminary regulations in April 2011, and the long-delayed final regulations are expected soon, perhaps as early as summer 2014. The documented effects of menu labeling on consumer and restaurant industry behavior suggest that menu labeling will likely encourage some consumers to eat more healthfully some of the time, and the policy is likely an important first step toward improving the public’s eating habits.