The primary objective of our study was to investigate the association between menu-labeling usage and healthy behaviors pertaining to diet (consumption of fruits, vegetables, sodas, and sugar-sweetened beverages) and exercise.
Data from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Sugar Sweetened Beverage and Menu-Labeling module, were used. Logistic regression was used to determine the association between menu-labeling usage and explanatory variables that included fruit, vegetable, soda, and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption as well as exercise.
Nearly half (52%) of the sample indicated that they used menu labeling. People who used menu labeling were more likely to be female (odds ratio [OR], 2.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.04–2.58), overweight (OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.00–1.29) or obese (OR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.12–1.50), obtain adequate weekly aerobic exercise (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.06–1.32), eat fruits (OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.12–1.29) and vegetables (OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.05–1.20), and drink less soda (OR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.69–0.83).
Although obese and overweight people were more likely to use menu labeling, they were also adequately exercising, eating more fruits and vegetables, and drinking less soda. Menu labeling is intended to combat the obesity epidemic; however the results indicate an association between menu-labeling usage and certain healthy behaviors. Thus, efforts may be necessary to increase menu-labeling usage among people who are not partaking in such behaviors.