The answer to this stubborn stupidity, our wannabe nannies insist, is more of the same:
Simply presenting calorie information is not enough, he and his colleagues stressed.
To be effective, nutrition labeling must be clearer and larger. It must also reach regular fast-food eaters -- people who expressed more concern with cost and convenience than nutrition, Breck and his colleagues found.
The trend toward nutrition labeling on fast-food menus began in response to the U.S. obesity epidemic. About 38 percent of adults and 17 percent of teenagers are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity has been linked to a greater risk of high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and other health issues.
Philadelphia in 2010 required fast-food restaurants to post the caloric, fat and sodium content of meals. New York City and Seattle already had similar rules.
But based on interviews with 1,400 people in Philadelphia, Breck's team concluded that significant labeling improvements are needed for such laws to have an impact.
Nutrition postings went unnoticed by nearly two-thirds surveyed at the restaurants and one-third questioned by phone, the investigators found.
To increase visibility of calorie content, the study authors recommended increasing the type size or color contrast of calorie information on menus and menu boards.
"Traffic-light or stop-sign type labeling indicating the healthfulness of food items is another example of a policy that has proven successful in laboratory settings in improving consumer choice," Breck said. But whether it would work in real-world settings isn't yet known.
Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, said calorie posts are just a start in improving the nation's eating behaviors.
"Awareness is the first step in the change process, so if consumers begin to see the numbers, eventual change is possible," Diekman said.
Motivation is also critical, she said, "and achieving that requires time, education, a desire to change, and an environment that supports the changed behaviors."
As a society, Diekman added, "we have a ways to go to provide an environment that encourages and supports healthy eating."
Here's a radical idea: create an environment that encourages and supports exercise, and begin that process with children.
In 2015, Forbes pointed out that schools were eliminating recess and kids were getting fatter (and performing at lower levels) as the result.
- Countries that are internationally regarded as having the best education systems, such as Finland, schedule time for students to have unstructured breaks throughout the day;
- Activities—physical, emotional, cognitive, and social—that children regularly engage in during recess are essential to development and well-being, in childhood and throughout the lifespan.
- Kids eat better and healthier when they get recess.
And before even recess got the axe, educators went after actual physical education As far back as 2012 The New York Times reported that "Despite obesity concerns, gym classes are cut"
Apparently it's more fun to dictate to adults how the should behave than to let children play. More fun for those doing the dictating at least, and it does offer them a chance to feel superior, though that opportunity may have started to diminish on November 9th.