The U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (health care reform law) includes a national requirement for calorie labeling at chain restaurants with 20 or more locations. Development and implementation of regulations related to this new policy are expected to occur within the next one to two years, and studies evaluating the public health effects of this policy need to be developed and initiated rapidly. In preparation for conducting a quasi-experimental study to examine the influence of mandatory point-of-purchase calorie labeling on the nutritional quality of restaurant menu offerings, the purpose of this study is to analyze baseline (pre-mandatory labeling) trends in the calorie content of restaurant menu offerings at 10 leading fast food restaurant chains over 14 years (1997-2010). A data set that includes nutrient composition information will be assembled using current and archived versions of the University of Minnesota Nutrition Coordinating Center (NCC) Food and Nutrient Database. In this database, menu items available at each of the restaurants and their nutrient composition have been updated every other year on an alternating schedule, thus allowing for examination of marketplace trends over an extended period. Trends in calorie content, nutrients and food groups believed to be linked with energy balance (e.g. fiber, added sugars, vegetable servings, etc.) will be examined in this study.
Start Date: November 2010
ID #: 68383
Principal Investigator: Lisa Harnack, DrPH, MPH, RD
Organization: University of Minnesota
Funding Round: Rapid-Response Round 3
Fourteen-Year Trends in Sodium Content of Menu Offerings at Eight Leading Fast-Food Restaurants in the USAThis article examines changes in the sodium content of lunch/dinner menu offerings at eight of the leading fast-food restaurants in the U.S. between 1997-1998 and 2009-2010. Researchers found that the mean sodium content of menu offerings across the eight restaurants increased by 23.4 percent over the 14 years studied. The mean sodium content of entrées More