A new survey result, which was published on Tuesday, has showed that women, patrons and higher-income diners of fast-food restaurants in the Seattle area are paying more heed to restaurant calorie count information while placing their orders.
The research findings, was based on extensive surveys of over 3,000 King County residents from Washington State including the Seattle city, offered a detailed idea about how the disclosures on calorie count could curb the US obesity epidemic by influencing the dining habits.
The study showed only 8 percent of people eating at food chain outlets said they considered the calorie content of their favorite dishes while placing their orders. On the other hand, 18.6 percent said that they saw calorie counts on menus and serving boards.
According to the study researchers, this is actually a progress in over 2 1/2 years.
The calorie-posting experiment in Seattle has witnessed an increase in percentage of people who looked at the useful calorie information on menus. The figures suggest it has tripled from 18.6 percent in May 2008 to 59.4 percent in December 2010. In the same period, the researchers found that the proportion of consumers who were influenced by these calorie counts information while ordering also tripled from 8.1 percent to 24.8 percent.
The study also showed that the women, diners and higher-income individuals who ate at eating joints said they were the most likely to use the calorie information. The white, obese and higher-income customers were more likely to look at such information. The researchers, however, did not ask the diners how they put calorie information to use.
“It was a confirmation that if you post calorie information, more people are going to see it and more people are going to use it,” said study lead author Roxana Chen, who is a social research scientist for public health for Seattle and King County.
After New York City, King County was the second US jurisdiction that implemented a calorie counts information under a menu-labeling law.
The study, which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was detailed online by the American Journal of Public Health.