Restaurant Labeling, February 2008

Restaurant Labeling, February 2008

The Obesity Society has been asked whether it believes that the prevention or reduction in obesity would be furthered by proposals to require caloric information on restaurants’ menus.

For several years now, governmental and non-governmental agencies have urged the public to eat healthier, reduce their caloric intake and increase activity levels. Identifying and understanding the caloric content of foods, whether purchased, home grown or acquired in a restaurant setting, is difficult. Even persons who understand caloric intake and body weight regulation may be frustrated at understanding the content of the food in front of them. Therefore, such labeling may assist weight-conscious consumers, provide an opportunity for parents to educate their children and is likely to do no harm to consumers.

The Society is aware that definitive scientific studies are not available on which policy makers, the restaurant industry and the public may rely to conclude with confidence that such information will reduce or lessen the prevalence or impact of obesity. Nonetheless, the Obesity Society believes that more information on the caloric content of restaurant servings, not less, is in the interests of consumers.

Therefore, the Obesity Society concludes that such policies are in the consumer’s best interests and should be implemented and supported by sound research to evaluate their effectiveness.