Feasibility of voluntary menu labeling among locally owned restaurants.

Office of Community Assessment at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, WA, USA.
Health Promotion Practice (Impact Factor: 0.55). 01/2011; 12(1):18-24. DOI: 10.1177/1524839910386182
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In 2007, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department launched a restaurant menu labeling project called SmartMenu. The objective was to recruit locally owned restaurants to voluntarily post basic nutrition information on their menus or menu boards. Participating restaurants submitted recipes to an independent contractor for nutritional analysis and agreed to post calorie, fat, carbohydrate, and sodium values on new menus within 90 days of receiving results. Vigorous recruitment efforts by the Health Department between June 2007 and September 2008 included free advertising, consultation with a Registered Dietitian, and free nutritional analysis. By the end of 2008, a total of 24 restaurants participated in the program. Significant barriers to participation included infrequent use of standardized recipes, perceived business risk of labeling, and low perceived customer demand for nutrition information. Key program elements, recruitment strategies, and costs are discussed. Results have important implications for future efforts to increase the adoption of menu labeling by locally owned and operated restaurants.

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    • "As a result, the sample likely suffered from selection bias in that those who chose to respond may have stronger feelings in favor of or against menu labeling than most restaurant owners and employees. In addition, although the survey questions/domains were derived from prior literature [21] and pilot-tested, its validity and reliability were not formally assessed. Future studies may need to do so to establish the survey's validity and reliability. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Exploring opinions and intentions regarding the soon-to-be implemented menu labeling legislation of restaurant owners and management nationwide. Methods: An email message with a link to an online survey was sent to those who were part of the Nation's Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality opt-in email lists. Data were collected in January-February 2012. Participants: 178 participants completed the survey. Variables Measured: The survey included: restaurant operation characteristics, restaurant owners' perception about the health impact of the law, restaurant owners' plan to change the menu and anticipated costs, and restaurants owners' attitudes about the new law. Analysis: Fisher's exact tests were performed, with a critical value of 05. 0 = α to determine significance. Results: In general, respondents with knowledge of and experience with menu labeling laws were more likely to respond that they would make menu changes as a result of the law. The majority of respondents, however, either disagreed or were neutral in response to questions about whether the law has the potential to improve health. Conclusions and Implications: Understanding what motivates restaurant owners to comply with the menu labeling law may contribute to efforts to ensure the success of its implementation.
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    • "Energy, fat, chol, sugar Laboratory analysis Bruemmer et al., 2012 20 mg Energy, saturated fat Point of purchase, Web site Britt et al., 2011 21 mg Energy, fat, CHO Menu analysis a Boutelle et al., 2011 22 mg Energy, fat, chol, fiber Menu analysis Johnson et al., 2010 23 mg, mg/1000 calories, sodium categories/meal b None Restaurant's Web site O'Donnell et al., 2008 24 < 800 mg/meal Energy, fat, CHO, sugar, protein, vitamins A and C, Ca, Fe Menu analysis c Sarathy et al., 2008 25 < 900 mg/entrée < 300 mg/side dish K, P Restaurant's Web site "
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    ABSTRACT: We reviewed methods of studies assessing restaurant foods' sodium content and nutrition databases. We systematically searched the 1964-2012 literature and manually examined references in selected articles and studies. Twenty-six (5.2%) of the 499 articles we found met the inclusion criteria and were abstracted. Five were conducted nationally. Sodium content determination methods included laboratory analysis (n = 15), point-of-purchase nutrition information or restaurants' Web sites (n = 8), and menu analysis with a nutrient database (n = 3). There is no comprehensive data system that provides all information needed to monitor changes in sodium or other nutrients among restaurant foods. Combining information from different sources and methods may help inform a comprehensive system to monitor sodium content reduction efforts in the US food supply and to develop future strategies. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print July 18, 2013: e1-e10. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301442).
    American Journal of Public Health 07/2013; 103(9). DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301442
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    ABSTRACT: Current strategies for combating obesity include recent federal legislation mandating calorie count postings in chain restaurants. This study describes the current practice of menu board calorie postings in a low-income urban neighborhood, identifies the extent to which current practice complies with existing policy, and evaluates the practical utility of menu boards to consumers. We conclude that although most postings were legally compliant, they did not demonstrate utility. Menu postings for individual servings are easily understood, but complex math skills are needed to interpret meals designed to serve more than one person. In some items, calories doubled depending on flavor and the calorie posting did not give enough information to make healthier selections. We identified specific strategies to improve practical utility and provide recommendations for policy implementation.
    Journal of Urban Health 02/2012; 89(4):587-97. DOI:10.1007/s11524-012-9671-0
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