Start Date: November 2010

ID #: 68302

Principal Investigator: Roland Sturm, PhD

Organization: RAND Corporation

Funding Round: Rapid-Response Round 3

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The implementation of a new California law on January 1, 2011, will require chain restaurants to label calories on menus. This study will test the hypothesis that restaurants subject to a calorie labeling law are more likely to improve the caloric and nutritional content of menu items, compared to restaurants not subject to the law. The study aims to: 1) describe the current food environment in restaurants, including how restaurant characteristics and state/local policies are associated with menu nutrition, and 2) evaluate changes in calorie levels of restaurant menus between 2010 and 2011 – that is, before and after full implementation of the California law. The study will compare a treatment group (chain restaurants subject to the law – that is, with 20 or more locations in California) with a control group (chain restaurants not subject to the law). It will compare self-reported caloric and nutritional data for standard menus that are made available by restaurants on their websites or upon request, between spring 2010 and spring 2011; baseline data were previously collected. Overall, this study will help to provide policy-makers with a better understanding of the full effects of regulatory disclosure policies on public health.

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Changes in the Energy and Sodium Content of Main Entrées in U.S. Chain Restaurants from 2010 to 2011

This article examines changes in the energy and sodium content of main entrées among a study population of 213 U.S. chain restaurant brands. Data were collected in spring 2010–when the Affordable Care Act was passed, which included a federal menu labeling requirement–and spring 2011. Entrées that changed between the time points were classified as removed More

January 2013

What’s on the Menu? A Review of the Energy and Nutritional Content of U.S. Chain Restaurant Menus

This paper discusses availability of nutrition information and nutritional content of menu items in the largest chain restaurants in the United States. Researchers examined the nutritional content of 30,923 menu items–including items from children’s menus–from 245 restaurants across the country. They found that while most main entrees did not exceed 667 calories, which is one-third More