Saturday, July 27, 2013

People may underestimate calorie counts of fast-food meals.

USA Today (5/24, Hellmich, 1.71M) reports, “Many diners are gobbling far more calories in their fast-food meals than they realize,” according to a study published May 23 in the BMJ. “Teens underestimated the calories in fast-food meals by 34%; parents of school-age children by 23%; adults by 20%, says lead researcher Jason Block of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.”
        The CNN (5/24, Wilson) “The Chart” blog reports, “Researchers interviewed more than 1,800 adults, 1,100 adolescents and 330 children at several fast food chains in New England.” Next, “study participants were asked to estimate their meal’s calorie count. Researchers then collected the bill to later tally the correct amount of calories using nutrition info posted on the chain’s website.”
        CQ (5/24, Subscription Publication) reports that “teens thought the meals they were buying at fast-food restaurants such as Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s had about 500 calories on average. In reality, the average order contained about 756 calories.” Meanwhile, “adults ordered meals with about 836 calories in them on average but underestimated the totals by 259 calories on average, the study said.” HealthDay (5/24, Dallas) also covers the story.
        Kids who eat fast food twice weekly less likely to use calorie info. HealthDay (5/24, Dallas) reports, “While some fast-food chains are required to provide calorie and other nutritional information to help customers make informed choices, kids who eat fast food at least twice a week are 50 percent less likely to use this information than kids who eat fast food less often,” according to a study published online May 23 in the Journal of Public Health. “Those most likely to use the calorie information are girls and children who are obese, said the researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “ who conducted a survey in 2010 and analyzed responses from 721 youngsters ages nine to 18.

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