Young people underestimate how many calories are in fast food

posted 15 Sep 2013, 05:39 by Damian Wood   [ updated 15 Sep 2013, 05:46 ]
Researchers from Harvard (Block et al) showed that, prior to the introduction of compulsory calorie content labelling for fast food, adults, young people and parents of school aged children all understimated the calorie content of the most common fast food brands. Teenagers underestimated by the calorie content of their meals by around 250kcal. Adolescent participants dining at Subway estimated 20% and 25% lower meal calorie content than those dining at McDonald’s, in other words diners at Subway underestimated calorie content by more than diners at McDonald’s. The authors suggest this may be a result of the differing marketing strategies of the two brands.
The authors conclude "that adults, adolescents, and parents of school age children generally underestimated the calories of meals, especially if the meal was large. Adults and adolescents dining at Subway underestimated calorie content more than diners at other chains. The forthcoming calorie menu labeling requirements of the US Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act might help to correct underestimation of calorie content."
(Published 23 May 2013)