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

Assessing the Implementation of Kids’ Meals Healthy Default Beverage Policies in the State of California and City of Wilmington, Del.

Healthy default beverage (HDB) policies are one policy approach to limiting kids’ sugary drink consumption and encouraging healthier beverage consumption. These policies specifically require restaurants to offer only healthier drinks (e.g., water, milk, 100% juice) instead of sugary drinks as the default options with kids’ meals, a combination of food and drink items sold as More

Date: August 2020

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Beverages Food Retail

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

Improving Menu Labeling by Restaurants to Better Guide Parents in Helping Their Children Make Healthy Food Selections

This study will develop and evaluate ways to increase the impact of restaurant menu labeling among parents buying food for their children to address concerns that restaurant calorie labeling laws have not been as influential as they could be. The goals of this project are to emplore how parents respond to restaurant calorie labeling and More

Date: February 2016

Resource Type: Grant Summary

Focus Areas: Food Retail

Unsavory Choices: The High Sodium Density of U.S. Chain Restaurant Foods

Drawing from a larger study on restaurant nutrition, this cross-sectional study reports on the sodium density of 30,073 menu items from 237 unique U.S. chain restaurant brands in 2010. Sodium density, defined as mg sodium per 1000 kcal, was evaluated with descriptive statistics and stratified by restaurant characteristics (service model and cuisine), menu type (regular More

Date: June 2015

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Diet Quality & Healthy Weight Food Retail

Changes in Awareness and Use of Calorie Information After Mandatory Menu Labeling in Restaurants in King County, Washington

In 2009, King County, Wash., implemented a menu-labeling regulation that requires chain restaurants to provide calorie, saturated fat, carbohydrate, and sodium information. This study examines population-level changes in menu-labeling awareness (i.e., seeing calorie information) and use (i.e., using calorie information) before and after policy implementation in King County. Researchers analyzed 2008 through 2010 Behavioral Risk More

Date: January 2015

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Food Retail

Easy-to-Understand Calorie Information Reduces Sugary Drink Purchases Among Teens

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) are an important contributor to adolescent obesity. One promising environmental strategy to reduce consumption of SSBs is to provide consumers with easily understandable caloric information. This infographic examines the effect of in-store calorie signage on adolescent sugary drink purchases. Findings presented in this infographic come from a related HER-funded journal article.

Date: October 2014

Resource Type: Infographic

Focus Areas: Beverages