Restaurant Calorie Counting

One of the requirements as listed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) asks restaurant chains with 20 or more locations across the U.S. to list calorie information on menus. Major cities across the U.S. have already fulfilled these requirements since 2009. Interestingly, Reuters Health reported today about a cross-sectional analysis (Journal of Public Health) indicating that only 1 in 3 diners actually make use of this information. This study was conducted in just over 4000 adults in the U.S. who ate out at restaurants either multiple times a week or on a monthly basis. Among the diners, women were reported to have higher rates of reading calorie information but no significant changes have been reported in terms of consumers purchasing more lower-calorie options. Seeing as obesity is a large contributor to chronic diseases, controlling portion sizes especially when eating out is quite important. Do you think that calorie-counting makes a big difference in weight management? How you counsel your patients on healthy eating as well as watching their caloric intake?

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