Research & Publications | Healthy Eating Research

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Messages Promoting Healthy Kids’ Meals: An Online RCT

Calorie labeling is now required on all large U.S. chain restaurant menus, but its influence on consumer behavior is mixed. This study examines whether different parent-targeted messages encourage parents to order lower-calorie meals for their children in a hypothetical online setting. An online RCT was conducted with primary caregivers of children aged 6–12 years. Participants More

Date: May 2021

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Food Retail

Restaurant kids’ meal beverage offerings before and after implementation of healthy default beverage policy statewide in California compared with citywide in Wilmington, Delaware

In 2019, California and Wilmington, Delaware implemented policies requiring healthier default beverages with restaurant kids’ meals. The current study assessed restaurant beverage offerings and manager perceptions. Pre-implementation, the most common kids’ meal beverages on California menus were unflavored milk and water (78·8 %, 52·0 %); in Wilmington, juice, milk and sugar-sweetened beverages were most common More

Date: April 2021

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Beverages Food Retail

Healthy default beverage policies for kids’ meals: A statewide baseline assessment of restaurant managers’ perceptions and knowledge in Delaware

This study evaluated restaurant managers’ knowledge and support of a healthy default beverage policy in Delaware that had passed, but not yet gone into effect. We conducted structured in-person interviews with managers (n = 50) from full-service and quick-service chain and non-chain restaurants (QSRs) using a stratified random sample. Managers were interviewed about the number More

Date: December 2020

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Beverages Food Retail

A Qualitative Study of Parents With Children 6 to 12 Years Old: Use of Restaurant Calorie Labels to Inform the Development of a Messaging Campaign

U.S. law mandates that chain restaurants with 20 or more locations post calorie information on their menus to inform consumers and encourage healthy choices. This study aimed to better understand parents’ perceptions and use of calorie labeling and the types of messages that might increase use. Researchers conducted 10 focus groups (n = 58) and More

Date: November 2020

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Food Retail

Food Environment Near Schools and Body weight-A Systematic Review of Associations by race/ethnicity, Gender, Grade, and Socio-Economic Factors

Previous research reported modest associations between food environments near schools and adiposity among children overall. The associations within sociodemographic subgroups have not been synthesized. This review assessed the evidence on the associations between food environments near schools and childhood obesity within different demographic and socio-economic subgroups. PubMed and Scopus databases were searched to identify studies More

Date: April 2020

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Food Retail Healthy Communities School & After School

Evaluating the Policy Impact of Healthy Default Beverages in Children’s Meals: Cross-state Comparison

Beginning January 2019 in California and Wilmington, Delaware, all restaurants selling children’s meals that include a beverage must provide healthy default options (unsweetened water and milk in California; water, milk or 100% juice in Delaware). In December 2018, baseline data on children’s meal beverage options were collected from a sample of fast food restaurants in More

Date: August 2019

Resource Type: Commissioned Research Project Summary

Focus Areas: Beverages Food Retail

Parents’ Reports of Fast-Food Purchases for Their Children: Have They Improved?

Few research studies have examined the menu items that parents purchase for their children at fast-food restaurants or their attitudes about healthier kids’ meals. The purpose of this research was to document specific menu items that parents reported purchasing for their children at the top fast-food restaurant chains, attitudes about the restaurants, frequency of fast-food More

Date: September 2018

Resource Type: Report

Focus Areas: Beverages Food Access Food Retail

Are Fast-Food Restaurants Keeping Their Promises to Offer Healthier Kids’ Meals?

To address public health concerns about the negative impact of children’s fast food consumption, some of the largest U.S. fast-food restaurants – McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Wendy’s, KFC, and Dairy Queen – have pledged to remove sugar-sweetened fountain drinks from menu boards and/or offer healthier drinks and side dishes with kids’ meals. In the current More

Date: August 2017

Resource Type: Report

Focus Areas: Beverages Food Access

Consumer Underestimation of Sodium in Fast Food Restaurant Meals: Results From a Cross-Sectional Observational Study

Restaurants are key venues for reducing sodium intake in the United States but little is known about consumer perceptions of sodium in restaurant foods. This study aimed to fill this gap by examining the accuracy of consumer estimates of sodium in restaurant meals. In 2013 and 2014, meal receipts and questionnaires were collected from adults More

Date: February 2017

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Food Retail

The Use of Brand Mascots and Media Characters: Opportunities for Responsible Food Marketing to Children

This issue brief examines the evidence on how food, beverage, restaurant, and entertainment companies have used brand mascots and cartoon media characters to influence children’s diet and health. Brand mascots and media characters represent a broad range of human or fictional kid-friendly animals or animated objects used by companies to market their products. Many of More

Date: March 2016

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Food Marketing