Junk food still finds itself on the menu

Calorie labelling on restaurant menus makes no difference to the food choices made by adolescents, a US study has found.

Children and teenagers visiting major burger and chicken take­away outlets in New York City, the first to adopt caloric labelling, ‘noticed’ the informa­tion but were not influenced by it, researchers said.

The results from 350 fast food con­sumers in a low income area do not augur well for the nation’s experiment in rolling out a mandatory requirement for restaurant chains to list caloric content, they suggested.

The racially diverse sample included children and adolescents visiting a restaurant with their parents (69%) or alone, both before and after the introduction of the labelling.

Adolescents chose restaurants based on ‘ease’ and ‘location’ rather than price, and chose particular foods based on ‘taste’, the survey showed.

Although a

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