Start Date: January 2010

ID #: 67291

Principal Investigator: James Krieger, MD, MPH

Co-Principal Investigator: Brian Saelens, PhD

Organization: Seattle-King County Department of Public Health

Funding Round: Rapid-Response Round 2

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The impact of menu labeling is unclear. A menu labeling law (beginning 1/1/09) in Seattle-King County, WA provides an opportunity to evaluate policy effectiveness. The Seattle-King County policy is different from regulations elsewhere in two important ways. First, not only do restaurants need to have calorie labels, they have to provide information on saturated fat, sodium and carbohydrates as well. Second, restaurants have choices about how to display nutrition information. Specifically, calories may be on menus/menu boards or displayed by other means, such as posters that customers will see while waiting in line, while other nutrition information may be displayed elsewhere, such as on a pamphlet at the point of purchase. This research team has already collected fall 2008 (pre) and spring 2009 (near post) data. This new project will collect data 1.5 years post-implementation in spring 2010 to assess long-term impact of the menu labeling policy on the percent of the population that is aware of nutrition labels, the nutrient composition of purchased meals and the number of healthier items on menus. This project will be the longest follow-up on menu labeling to date. Data sources will include point of purchase receipts and customer survey, population survey (BRFSS), restaurant nutrition environment, restaurant inspection and menu audits in both Seattle-King County and San Diego, CA (a comparison county without the regulation).

Related Research

January 2015

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

June 2013

Menu Labeling Regulations and Calories Purchased at Chain Restaurants

This article evaluates the impact of a menu labeling regulation in King County, Wash., on calories purchased and awareness and use of labels six and 18 months after implementation. Like prior studies, researchers found no significant changes in calories purchased six months after implementation, but found a modest decrease in the calories purchased after 18 More

November 2012

Nutrition-Labeling Regulation Impacts on Restaurant Environments

This article discusses results of a study that examined whether restaurant environments changed as a result of a newly implemented restaurant nutrition-labeling regulation in King County, Wash., compared over a similar length of time to restaurants in Multnomah County, Ore., where nutrition-labeling was not implemented. Researchers found that there was no substantive difference in overall More

August 2012

Energy, Saturated Fat, and Sodium Were Lower in Entrees at Chain Restaurants at 18 Months Compared with 6 Months Following the Implementation of Mandatory Menu Labeling Regulation in King County, Washington

This study examined the energy, saturated fat, and sodium content of entrées at national chain restaurants subject to menu labeling regulations in King County, Washington, at six and 18 months after the implementation of the regulation. Researchers evaluated the nutrition content of entrées at 11 sit-down restaurants and 26 quick-serve chains for items that were More