Document Type

Dissertation

Department

Public Health

First Advisor's Name

Robert Malow

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Victoria H. Castellanos

Third Advisor's Name

Jessy G. Devieux

Fourth Advisor's Name

Jésus Sanchez

Fifth Advisor's Name

Dorothy Brooten

Keywords

Calorie Menu labeling, exercise equivalents, fast food, point-of-choice

Date of Defense

11-18-2009

Abstract

Although calorie information at the point-of-purchase at fast food restaurants is proposed as a method to decrease calorie choices and combat obesity, research results have been mixed. Much of the supportive research has weak methodology, and is limited. There is a demonstrated need to develop better techniques to assist consumers to make lower calorie food choices. Eating at fast food restaurants has been positively associated with weight gain. The current study explored the possibility of adding exercise equivalents (EE) (physical activity required to burn off the calories in the food), along with calorie information as a possible way to facilitate lower calorie choice at the point-of-choice in fast food restaurants. This three-group experimental study, in 18-34 year old, overweight and obese women, examines whether presenting caloric information in the form of EE at the point-of-choice at fast food restaurants, will lead to lower calorie food choices compared to presenting simple caloric information or no information at all. Methods: A randomized repeated measures experiment was conducted. Participants ordered a fast food meal from Burger King with menus that contained only the names of the food choices (Lunch 1). One week later (Lunch 2), study participants were given one of three menus that varied: no information, calorie information, or calorie information and EE. Study participants included 62 college aged students. Additionally, the study controlled for dietary restraint by blocking participants, before randomization, to the three groups. Results: A repeated measures analysis of variance was conducted. The study was not sufficiently powered, and while the study was designed to determine large effect sizes, a small effect size of .026, was determined. No significant differences were found in the foods ordered among the various menu conditions. Conclusion: Menu labeling alone might not be enough to reduce calories at the point-of-choice at restaurants. Additional research is necessary to determine if calorie information and EE at the point-of-choice would lead to fewer calories chosen at a meal. Studies should also look at long-term, repeated exposure to determine the effectiveness of calories and or EE at the point-of-choice at fast food restaurants.

Identifier

FI09120832

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