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Nutrition labels reduce caloric intake

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A new study published online January 25 in Pediatrics suggests that labeling of nutrition information such as calories on the restaurants' menus may help reduce risk of developing obesity in children.

The study conducted at McDonald’s restaurants showed that parents who were given menus with calorie information chose 102 fewer calories for their children compared to those given menus without nutrition facts listed.

For the study, Pooja S. Tandon, MD, from Seattle Children's Research Institute and colleagues enlisted 99 parents of 3 to 6 year olds who reported eating in fast food restaurants with their children one to four times a month, ABC News reported.

Of the participants, half were given menus with calorie information and another half menus without such information while both menus listed the same items including a variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads, dressings, side items, beverages, desserts and children's "Happy Meals."

The researchers found those given the calorie information chose about 20 percent fewer calories for their children.

According to ABC News, heavy weight parents tended to order more calories for their children. Both groups of parents ordered similar amounts for themselves.

Eating too many calories is believed to be a cause for the obesity epidemic in the United States. However, some studies have found eating high amounts of calories does not neccessarily lead to obesity.

Dr. Colin T Campbell, a distinguished nutrition professor at Cornell University, says in his book China Study that the Chinese in rural areas who eat a few hundreds of more calories each day than those in the United States, but fewer Chinese people in such areas are obese.

They eat much more plant-based food such as grains and vegetables and much less meat and fat compared to their counterparts in the U.S.

By Jimmy Downs

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