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The obesity pandemic is associated with increased consumption of restaurant food. Labeling of menus is an intervention used to provide consumers with kilocalorie (calorie) information in hopes of them making healthier food choices. This study evaluated the relationship between young adults’ calorie choices on restaurant menus and menu design, dietary behaviors, and demographic characteristics. A 3 (fast-casual restaurants) × 4 (menu-designs based on menu engineering theories) between-subjects (n = 480, 18–24-year olds) experimental design was used. The relationship between the participants’ calorie choices (high versus low) and menu design, stage of change, gender, race, educational level and weight status was evaluated using logistic regression. All independent variables had at least one category that had greater odds (CI 95% ± 5%) of subjects choosing a lower calorie entree, except education level and race/ethnic group. Normal weight and overweight subjects had greater odds of choosing lower calorie entrees than those that were obese. In addition, subjects that had started to control their calorie intake for less than six months or had sustained this change for at least six months, had greater odds of choosing lower calorie entrees compared to others. Including a green symbol and calories on fast casual restaurant menus may influence some young adults to choose lower calorie entrees.
Bergman, Christine; Tian, Yuan; Moreo, Andrew; and Raab, Carola, "Menu engineering and dietary behavior impact on young adults’ kilocalorie choice" (2021). All Faculty. 364.