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The effect of providing nutritional information about fast-food restaurant menus on parents' meal choices for their children

  • Ahn, Jae-Young ;
  • Park, Hae-Ryun ;
  • Lee, Kiwon ;
  • Kwon, Sooyoun ;
  • Kim, Soyeong ;
  • Yang, Jihye ;
  • Song, Kyung-Hee ;
  • Lee, Youngmi
  • Received : 2015.04.27
  • Accepted : 2015.08.25
  • Published : 2015.12.01

Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: To encourage healthier food choices for children in fast-food restaurants, many initiatives have been proposed. This study aimed to examine the effect of disclosing nutritional information on parents' meal choices for their children at fast-food restaurants in South Korea. SUBJECTS/METHODS: An online experimental survey using a menu board was conducted with 242 parents of children aged 2-12 years who dined with them at fast-food restaurants at least once a month. Participants were classified into two groups: the low-calorie group (n = 41) who chose at least one of the lowest calorie meals in each menu category, and the high-calorie group (n = 201) who did not. The attributes including perceived empowerment, use of provided nutritional information, and perceived difficulties were compared between the two groups. RESULTS: The low-calorie group perceived significantly higher empowerment with the nutritional information provided than did the high-calorie group (P = 0.020). Additionally, the low-calorie group was more interested in nutrition labeling (P < 0.001) and considered the nutritional value of menus when selecting restaurants for their children more than did the high-calorie group (P = 0.017). The low-calorie group used the nutritional information provided when choosing meals for their children significantly more than did the high-calorie group (P < 0.001), but the high-calorie group had greater difficulty using the nutritional information provided (P = 0.012). CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that improving the empowerment of parents using nutritional information could be a strategy for promoting healthier parental food choices for their children at fast-food restaurants.

Keywords

Fast-food restaurant;nutritional labeling;children;parents;meal choice

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