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Health concerns are impacting restaurant menus

Pressure by the government, mandatory calorie labeling and the rise in obesity-related health problems are pushing restaurants to make their menus healthier. According to Packaged Facts, the timing is right, as consumers become more receptive to dietary guidance.

  • During the past 20 years, consumers have become much less likely to rate their diets as "excellent" or "very good" in terms of healthfulness, although the American diet has undergone little change over this period
  • Obesity now accounts for 9.1% of all medical spending, up from 6.5% in 1998
  • In poorer neighborhoods, residents experience far higher rates of adult and childhood obesity
  • The average number of calories consumed has increased from 2,169 in 1970 to 2,594 in 2009, a 19.6% jump

As the nation struggles to combat the growing epidemic of obesity and obesity-related diseases, public officials, health professionals and the industry are providing more information on the nutritional content of foods. Calorie labeling may help diners make healthier choices when eating out, or it may help them realize that they should consume fewer calories at other meals throughout the day to compensate for high-calorie meals away from home. 

Source: Health on the Restaurant Menu: Foodservice Trends in the U.S.; Packaged Facts, November, 2011