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

  • Ahn, Jae-Young (Department of Food and Nutrition, Myongji University) ;
  • Park, Hae-Ryun (Department of Food and Nutrition, Myongji University) ;
  • Lee, Kiwon (Department of Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Tennessee) ;
  • Kwon, Sooyoun (Department of Food and Nutrition, Honam University) ;
  • Kim, Soyeong (Department of Food and Nutrition, Myongji University) ;
  • Yang, Jihye (Department of Food and Nutrition, Myongji University) ;
  • Song, Kyung-Hee (Department of Food and Nutrition, Myongji University) ;
  • Lee, Youngmi (Department of Food and Nutrition, Myongji University)
  • Received : 2015.04.27
  • Accepted : 2015.08.25
  • Published : 2015.12.01


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.


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


  1. Guthrie JF, Lin BH, Frazao E. Role of food prepared away from home in the American diet, 1977-78 versus 1994-96: changes and consequences. J Nutr Educ Behav 2002;34:140-50.
  2. French SA, Story M, Neumark-Sztainer D, Fulkerson JA, Hannan P. Fast food restaurant use among adolescents: associations with nutrient intake, food choices and behavioral and psychosocial variables. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2001;25:1823-33.
  3. Niemeier HM, Raynor HA, Lloyd-Richardson EE, Rogers ML, Wing RR. Fast food consumption and breakfast skipping: predictors of weight gain from adolescence to adulthood in a nationally representative sample. J Adolesc Health 2006;39:842-9.
  4. Ebbeling CB, Sinclair KB, Pereira MA, Garcia-Lago E, Feldman HA, Ludwig DS. Compensation for energy intake from fast food among overweight and lean adolescents. JAMA 2004;291:2828-33.
  5. Rosenheck R. Fast food consumption and increased caloric intake: a systematic review of a trajectory towards weight gain and obesity risk. Obes Rev 2008;9:535-47.
  6. Ministry of Health and Welfare, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Korea Health Statistics 2012: Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES V-3). Cheongwon: Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2013.
  7. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (US). Notice of Intention to Repeal and Reenact Sec.81.50 of the New York City Health Code. New York (NY): New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; 2007.
  8. Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (KO). The special act on safety management of children's dietary life [Internet]. Cheongju: Ministry of Food and Drug Safety; 2014 [cited 2014 May 27]. Available from:
  9. Burton S, Creyer EH. What consumers don't know can hurt them: consumer evaluations and disease risk perceptions of restaurant menu items. J Consum Aff 2004;38:121-45.
  10. Burton S, Creyer EH, Kees J, Huggins K. Attacking the obesity epidemic: the potential health benefits of providing nutrition information in restaurants. Am J Public Health 2006;96:1669-75.
  11. Pulos E, Leng K. Evaluation of a voluntary menu-labeling program in full-service restaurants. Am J Public Health 2010;100:1035-9.
  12. Roberto CA, Larsen PD, Agnew H, Baik J, Brownell KD. Evaluating the impact of menu labeling on food choices and intake. Am J Public Health 2010;100:312-8.
  13. Harnack LJ, French SA, Oakes JM, Story MT, Jeffery RW, Rydell SA. Effects of calorie labeling and value size pricing on fast food meal choices: results from an experimental trial. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2008;5:63.
  14. Yamamoto JA, Yamamoto JB, Yamamoto BE, Yamamoto LG. Adolescent fast food and restaurant ordering behavior with and without calorie and fat content menu information. J Adolesc Health 2005;37:397-402.
  15. Tandon PS, Zhou C, Chan NL, Lozano P, Couch SC, Glanz K, Krieger J, Saelens BE. The impact of menu labeling on fast-food purchases for children and parents. Am J Prev Med 2011;41:434-8.
  16. Boles M, Maher JE, Moore JM, Knapp A. Variability in the nutritional value of fast-food purchases before the implementation of a statewide menu labeling policy. Proceedings of APHA 138th Annual Meeting and Exposition; 2010 Nov 6-10; Denver (CO). Washington, D.C.: American Public Health Association; 2010.
  17. Drichoutis AC, Lazaridis P, Nayga RM Jr. Nutrition knowledge and consumer use of nutritional food labels. Eur Rev Agric Econ 2005;32:93-118.
  18. Grunert KG, Wills JM, Fernandez-Celemin L. Nutrition knowledge, and use and understanding of nutrition information on food labels among consumers in the UK. Appetite 2010;55:177-89.
  19. Kim SY, Nayga RM Jr, Capps O Jr. Health knowledge and consumer use of nutritional labels: the issue revisited. Agric Resour Econ Rev 2001;30:10-9.
  20. Drichoutis AC, Lazaridis P, Nayga RM. Consumers' use of nutritional labels: a review of research studies and issues. Acad Mark Sci Rev 2006;9:1-22.
  21. Tangari AH, Burton S, Howlett E, Cho YN, Thyroff A. Weighing in on fast food consumption: the effects of meal and calorie disclosures on consumer fast food evaluations. J Consum Aff 2010;44:431-62.
  22. Wei W, Miao L. Effects of calorie information disclosure on consumers’ food choices at restaurants. Int J Hosp Manag 2013;33:106-17.
  23. Spreitzer GM. Social structural characteristics of psychological empowerment. Acad Manage J 1996;39:483-504.
  24. Fuchs C, Prandelli E, Schreier M. The psychological effects of empowerment strategies on consumers' product demand. J Mark 2010;74:65-79.
  25. Wathieu L, Brenner L, Carmon Z, Chattopadhyay A, Wertenbroch K, Drolet A, Gourville J, Muthukrishnan AV, Novemsky N, Ratner RK, Wu G. Consumer control and empowerment: a primer. Mark Lett 2002;13:297-305.
  26. Steel JL. Interpersonal correlates of trust and self-disclosure. Psychol Rep 1991;68:1319-20.
  27. Sawhney M, Verona G, Prandelli E. Collaborating to create: The Internet as a platform for customer engagement in product innovation. J Interact Mark 2005;19:4-17.
  28. Cranage DA, Conklin MT, Lambert CU. Effect of nutrition information in perceptions of food quality, consumption behavior and purchase intentions. J Foodserv Bus Res 2004;7:43-61.
  29. Cranage D, Sujan H. Customer choice: A preemptive strategy to buffer the effects of service failure and improve customer loyalty. J Hosp Tour Res 2004;28:3-20.
  30. Farrow CV, Blissett J. Controlling feeding practices: cause or consequence of early child weight? Pediatrics 2008;121:e164-9.
  31. Ventura AK, Birch LL. Does parenting affect children's eating and weight status? Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2008;5:15.
  32. Barreiro-Hurle J, Gracia A, de-Magistris T. Does nutrition information on food products lead to healthier food choices? Food Policy 2010;35:221-9.
  33. White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President (US). Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity within a Generation. Washington, D.C.; White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President: 2010.
  34. Kent G. Nutrition education as an instrument of empowerment. J Nutr Educ Behav 1998;20:193-5.
  35. Marietta AB, Welshimer KJ, Anderson SL. Knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of college students regarding the 1990 Nutrition Labeling Education Act food labels. J Am Diet Assoc 1999;99:445-9.
  36. Cho SH, Yu HH. Nutrition knowledge, dietary attitudes, dietary habits and awareness of food-nutrition labelling by girl's high school students. Korean J Community Nutr 2007;12:519-33.
  37. Kim MG, Oh SW, Han NR, Song DJ, Um JY, Bae SH, Kwon H, Lee CM, Joh HK, Hong SW. Association between nutrition label reading and nutrient intake in Korean adults: Korea National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, 2007-2009 (KNHANES IV). Korean J Fam Med 2014;35:190-8.
  38. Gracia A, Loureiro M, Nayga RM Jr. Do consumers perceive benefits from the implementation of a EU mandatory nutritional labelling program? Food Policy 2007;32:160-74.
  39. Din N, Zahari MS, Shariff SM. Customer perception on nutritional information in restaurant menu. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 2012;42:413-21.
  40. Saha S, R Vemula S, Mendu VV, Gavaravarapu SM. Knowledge and practices of using food label information among adolescents attending schools in Kolkata, India. J Nutr Educ Behav 2013;45:773-9.
  41. Kim YS, Kim BR. Intake of snacks, and perceptions and use of food and nutrition labels by middle school students in Chuncheon area. J Korean Soc Food Sci Nutr 2012;41:1265-73.
  42. Liu PJ, Roberto CA, Liu LJ, Brownell KD. A test of different menu labeling presentations. Appetite 2012;59:770-7.
  43. Morley B, Scully M, Martin J, Niven P, Dixon H, Wakefield M. What types of nutrition menu labelling lead consumers to select less energy-dense fast food? An experimental study. Appetite 2013;67:8-15.

Cited by

  1. Nutritional quality of meals offered to children (kids’ meals) at chain restaurants in Japan pp.1475-2727, 2018,