Calorie menu labeling on quick-service restaurant menus: an updated systematic review of the literature.

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Nutrition labels are one strategy being used to combat the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 mandates that calorie labels be added to menu boards of chain restaurants with 20 or more locations. This systematic review includes seven studies published since the last review on the topic in 2008. Authors searched for peer-reviewed studies using PUBMED and Google Scholar. Included studies used an experimental or quasi-experimental design comparing a calorie-labeled menu with a no-calorie menu and were conducted in laboratories, college cafeterias, and fast food restaurants. Two of the included studies were judged to be of good quality, and five of were judged to be of fair quality. Observational studies conducted in cities after implementation of calorie labeling were imprecise in their measure of the isolated effects of calorie labels. Experimental studies conducted in laboratory settings were difficult to generalize to real world behavior. Only two of the seven studies reported a statistically significant reduction in calories purchased among consumers using calorie-labeled menus. The current evidence suggests that calorie labeling does not have the intended effect of decreasing calorie purchasing or consumption.





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Swartz, Jonas J, Danielle Braxton and Anthony J Viera (2011). Calorie menu labeling on quick-service restaurant menus: an updated systematic review of the literature. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 8(1). p. 135. 10.1186/1479-5868-8-135 Retrieved from

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Jonas J Swartz

Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dr. Jonas Swartz is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Complex Family Planning. He joined the Duke Ob/Gyn faculty in 2019 and splits his time as a clinician and researcher. His clinical interests include complex family planning and obstetric care. His research interests include health policy issues that impact care for the underserved. Much of his work has been on health disparities with a special focus on immigrants, Medicaid policy and access to abortion and contraception. He also has specific interests in crisis pregnancy centers, health information on social media, and fulfillment of desired tubal ligation for permanent contraception.


Anthony Joseph Viera

Leonard J. & Margaret Goldwater Distinguished Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health

My major area of research is cardiovascular disease prevention. I am particularly interested in improving detection and control of hypertension. Since assessment of blood pressure begins with measurement, my studies often include out-of-office BP measurement techniques including 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring and home BP monitoring.

I am also interested in obesity prevention, and in another line of research am examining the effectiveness of food labeling policies (such as calorie-labeling) on people's food and physical activity decisions.

As a family physician, I enjoy providing full-scope primary care (acute care, chronic illness care, preventive services) to patients of all ages and from all walks of life.

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