Nutritional Information On Hospital Cafeteria Menus
Kaiser Permanente has decided to offer calorie
and other nutrition information on its hospital cafeteria menus, after
a study found that patrons chose healthier options when menus are
labeled with more nutritional details, according to a press release.
More than 80 percent of patrons surveyed said they
Kaiser Permanente was helping to improve their health by providing them
with nutritional information in the cafeteria, according to studies
done by the University of California at Berkley’s Center for
Weight and Health at five Kaiser Permanente cafeteria sites.
The three study conditions for participating
were either calorie labeling in place on menu boards and placards at
point of purchase; a wall poster with both calorie and detailed
nutrition information; or no information. Patrons’ lunchtime
purchases were assessed before and four weeks after labeling had been
introduced using electronic cash register records at two sites and
direct observation at all sites, according to the release.
More than 500 patrons completed the cafeteria exit
survey. Two-thirds of respondents noted the menu board sites with
calorie information, and one-third of those reported they altered their
purchases as a result of the information, said authors of the study.
"If we want people to make healthier choices, we
give them information they need to make those choices," said Raymond J.
Baxter, PhD, senior VP of Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy
at Kaiser Permanente.
"This innovative program shows that people want
nutrition information when they eat in places like cafeterias and
restaurants, and that having the information gives consumers more
control," said Kelly D. Brownell, PhD, director of the Rudd Center for
Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. "It would be wonderful if
this were done on a broad scale."
Address: Kaiser Permanente, 1 Kaiser Plaza, Suite
2600, Oakland, CA 94612; (510) 271-5910, www.kp.org.