Survey: Calorie counts may prompt parents to order healthier meals for kids

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Consumers will soon know how many calories they are eating when ordering off the menu at chain restaurants, picking up prepared foods at supermarkets and even eating a tub of popcorn at the movie theater.

Starting in November, establishments with prepared food must post the calorie content on their menus, as per new Food and Drug Administration regulations.

A recent survey of parents with children between two and 17 suggests that having a calorie count in front of them will prompt them to order meals with less calories for their kids. It may also encourage parents to try and get their children to exercise.

The survey by Pediatrics journal, questioned 1,000 parents. Each was given one of four different types of fast food menus: no labels; calories only; calories plus minutes needed to burn them off; and calories plus miles needed to walk to burn the calories.

They then asked to choose a meal for their child, shown the calories in that meal and asked if that would influence them to encourage their child to exercise.

“Labels may influence parents’ decisions on what fast food items to order for their children and, uniquely, encourage them to try and get their children to exercise,” according to the study. “The potentially resulting combination of fewer calories consumed with greater physical activity could help begin to curb childhood obesity.”

For a closer look at the findings, click here.

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