The effect of energy and traffic light labelling on parent and child fast food selection: a randomised controlled trial.
Sommaire de l'article
Labelling of food from fast food restaurants at point-of-purchase has been suggested as one strategy to reduce population energy consumption and contribute to reductions in obesity prevalence. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of energy and single traffic light labelling systems on the energy content of child and adult intended food purchases.
PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS:
The study employed a randomised controlled trial design. English speaking parents of children aged between three and 12 years were recruited from an existing research cohort. Participants were mailed one of three hypothetical fast food menus. Menus differed in their labelling technique – either energy labels, single traffic light labels, or a no-label control. Participants then completed a telephone survey which assessed intended food purchases for both adult and child. The primary trial outcome was total energy of intended food purchase.
A total of 329 participants completed the follow-up telephone interview. Eighty-two percent of the energy labelling group and 96% of the single traffic light labelling group reported noticing labelling information on their menu. There were no significant differences in total energy of intended purchases of parents, or intended purchases made by parents for children, between the menu labelling groups, or between menu labelling groups by socio-demographic subgroups.
This study provided no evidence to suggest that energy labelling or single traffic light labelling alone were effective in reducing the energy of fast food items selected from hypothetical fast food menus for purchase. Additional complementary public health initiatives promoting the consumption of healthier foods identified by labelling, and which target other key drivers of menu item selection in this setting may be required.