Menu labels, for better, and worse? Exploring socio-economic and race-ethnic differences in menu label use in a national sample.
Sommaire de l'article
Menu calorie labeling aims to empower customers to make healthier food choices, but researchers have questioned whether labels will empower those with greater health literacy, literacy or numeracy more, possibly reinforcing race-ethnic or socioeconomic inequalities in obesity. The goal of this study was to investigate differences in seeing and using restaurant menu calorie labels and whether differences have compounded over time. Using data from three rounds of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey covering the period 2007-2014, we investigate race-ethnic and socio-economic differences in menu label usage over time adjusting for sex, age and body weight. While menu label usage increased over time, not all groups increased their use equally. While we find that Blacks and Hispanics use labels more than Whites in sit-down restaurants, more educated individuals, higher income groups and Whites each increased the degree to which they saw and/or used labels in certain settings compared with other groups. This study reinforces concerns that menu-calorie labeling may exacerbate socio-economic and certain race-ethnic obesity differences. As menu labeling policy moves forward to be implemented federally, more attention may need to be diverted to educational campaigns accompanying the implementation and improving the labels so the information is easier to use.