Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Dietetics and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Janet Tietyen Mullins

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to assess the need for menu labeling of calories based on the ability of food consumers to identify lower calorie options. By surveying consumers in Kentucky and Ohio and health professionals in Kentucky about their awareness of caloric content, basic nutrition knowledge and ability to choose lower calorie options, we can predict the potential benefit of menu labeling initiatives and the amount of education that will be necessary for consumers to effectively use menu labeling to make informed decisions on calorie intake. Through online surveys, it was determined that consumers were better able to predict calorie levels of foods at common quick serve restaurants, compared to health professionals. Health professionals are more knowledgeable about daily calorie requirements and more likely to change their quick serve food order with calorie labels. Health professionals and consumers dining out 3-5 times per month were better able to determine low calorie options and daily calorie requirements. These findings suggest that show that health professionals are in no better able to predict calorie levels at restaurants. Furthermore, nutrition education is necessary to aid in the use of menu calorie labeling for consumers.

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