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Study: Menu Calorie Info Works

If fast food restaurant menu items include a calorie count and other nutritional information, parents will choose less caloric foods for their kids, according to a study reported in the journal Pediatrics.

Nutrition labeling has been advocated as a way to promote healthier restaurant menu selection. In the study, about 100 parents of kids ages 3-6 were divided into two groups ordering fast food. Menus for only one group contained nutrition information. Kids’ meals ordered by that group averaged 567 calories. Meals ordered by the group that did not have nutrition information averaged 671 calories.

Philadelphia now requires menu calorie counts for restaurants with more than 15 locations in the city. New Jersey last month enacted a law requiring large chain restaurants to include calorie information on their menus. The law goes into effect in early 2011.

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