Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Aging and Chronic Disease
Energy-dense meals consumed in restaurants may be contributing to the nation’s obesity epidemic. To help Americans make healthier food choices at restaurants, the display of nutrition information on menus has emerged as a nationwide initiative. A large percentage of Americans consume foods from either fast-food or full-service restaurants daily, therefore, a strategy to address the obesity epidemic is to look for trends among adults between the use of nutrition information in restaurants and their body mass index (BMI). Therefore, the objective of this analysis was to evaluate the association between use of nutrition information in restaurants and BMI in the US.
Methods : Data collected from the 2013-2014 NHANES survey was used for this analysis. We used responses to the question on use of nutrition information in restaurants to make purchasing decision. This was associated with BMI, categorized as healthy weight (18.5 to less than 25 kg/m2) or as overweight/obese (equal or greater than 25 kg/m2), using multiple logistic regression, crude and adjusting for age and gender.
Results : A total of 1,238 individuals ages 18-65 responded the question about using nutrition information on menu for deciding which foods to purchase in a restaurant. A total of 44.5% reported using menu for making such decisions. Overweight/obese was found in 69% of participants. Use of the nutrition information for buying decisions in restaurants was not associated with lower risk of obesity (OR: 1.208, 95% CI: 0.947, 1.541). Similar results were seen when we adjusted for age and gender (OR: 1.148, 95% CI: 0.892, 1.473).
Conclusions : Use of the nutrition information to make buying decisions in a restaurant was not associated with obesity in this cross-sectional analysis using NHANES data. This could be explained by the fact that the individuals who are using the nutrition information to make purchasing decisions are overweight/obese at the time of the survey and are actively trying to make healthier choices. Longitudinal studies are needed to confirm these results.
Funding Sources : Florida International University internal funds.