The Effects Of Calorie Count Display On Consumer Eating Behavior: Would It Solve The Obesity Problem? An Empirical Perspective

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Elias G. Rizkallah
Kimberly Feiler

Keywords

Calorie Count on Menus, Food Industry Regulation, Consumer Eating Habits, Obesity, Social Marketing

Abstract

Obesity in the United States and around the world is getting to be of epidemic proportions, with major economic, social, and psychological impacts on society. Its impact is evident in cost of health care, opportunity cost of lower productivity, emotional and physical suffering, and shorter life expectancy. Although obesity is the result of individual behavior, efforts to reduce it are initiated by many concerned parties. The question is, how effective are these efforts? The researchers are interested in knowing individuals’ attitudes about these efforts, specifically, the latest regulation of displaying calorie counts on menus of restaurants and its effects on their behaviors. The survey also covered consumers’ opinions regarding obesity, its causes, and what can be done about it. Specifically, the purpose of this study is to determine the effects of calorie count display on consumers’ eating habits, consumers’ attitude towards obesity as a societal concern, and their views about who is to blame and who should do something about the obesity problem. The study surveyed 226 consumers in the Southern California area. Results are analyzed, discussed, and used as basis for making recommendations to all parties concerned (i.e., individuals and families, government agencies, healthcare organizations, and food companies and restaurants) regarding their role to reduce obesity and its adverse economic, social, and psychological impact on society. 

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