Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Drexel University
Faculty webpage: click here
a. CitationDrexel University & Philadelphia Department of Public Health. (2013). Menu labeling evaluation: recommendations for restaurants. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Drexel University School of Public Health.b. Link to the PDF of the report click here
This report very briefly summarizes findings from the Drexel Restaurant Study that full-service restaurant owners, operators, managers, and executive chefs may find interesting. The Drexel Restaurant Study analyzed the nutritional value of foods listed on menus; what customers purchased and if their purchases differed depending on menu labeling; and finally, customer knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding menu labeling. Data came from 21 full-service restaurants, 5 focus groups, and 648 customer surveys and transaction receipts collected at one large full-service restaurant chain's outlets (two outlets had menu labeling and five outlets did not).
a. CitationAuchincloss AH, Loenberg BL, Glanz K, Bellitz S, Ricchezza A, Jervis A. Nutritional value of meals at full-service restaurant chains. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behaviorb. Link to the article click here
This study assessed the nutritional value of meals at full-service national restaurant chains with outlets in the Philadelphia region, 2011. Chains were eligible if nutritional information for all menu items was on company webpages or printed menus at Philadelphia outlets. Nutrient profiles were analyzed for 2615 items from 21 eligible chains (out of 29) and compared to USDA guidelines. Results found that adult meals (entree, side dish, one-half appetizer) approximated 1495 kcal, 28 grams saturated fat, 3512 milligrams sodium, 11 grams fiber; and rose to 2020 kcal after including a beverage and one-half dessert. Better calorie and fat profiles were observed for entrees tagged "healthy choice" or aimed at seniors or children; however, sodium far exceeded recommended limits. The authors conclude that foods served at full-service restaurant chains are high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Standard definitions are needed for "healthy choice" tags and for entrees targeted to vulnerable age groups.
a. CitationAuchincloss AH, Mallya GG, Leonberg BL, Glanz K, Ricchezza A, Schwarz DF. Customer responses to mandatory menu labeling at full-service restaurants. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.b. Link to the article click here
In 2010, Philadelphia enacted a menu labeling law requiring full-service restaurant chains list values for calories, sodium, fat, and carbohydrates for each item on all printed menus. This cross-sectional case-control study determined whether purchase decisions at full-service restaurants varied depending on the presence of labeling. In August 2011, the study collected 648 customer surveys and transaction receipts at seven restaurant outlets of one large full-service restaurant chain. Two outlets had menu labeling (case sites); five outlets did not (control sites). Outcomes included differences in calories and nutrients purchased and customers' reported use of nutritional information when ordering. Results found that mean age was 37 years, 60% were female, 50% were Black/African American and reported incomes >$60,000. Customers purchased food with approximately 1600 kcal (food plus beverage, 1800 kcal), 3200 mg sodium, and 35 g saturated fat. After adjustment for confounders, customers at labeled restaurants purchased food with 151 less kcal (95% confidence limit [CI] -270, -33), 224 mg less sodium (CI -457, +8), and 3.7 g less saturated fat (CI -7.4, -0.1) compared to customers at unlabeled restaurants (or 155 less food plus beverage calories, CI -284, -27). Those reporting that nutritional information affected their order purchased 400 less food calories, 370 mg less sodium, and 10 g less saturated fat. The authors conclude that mandatory menu labeling was associated with better food choices among a segment of the public dining at full-service restaurants. Consumer education on the availability and use of nutritional information may extend the impact of menu labeling.
a. CitationAuchincloss AH, Young C, Youngfert A, Wasson S, Chilton M, Karamanian V. Barriers and facilitators of consumer use of nutrition labels at full service restaurant chains. Public Health Nutr.b. Link to the article click here
Numerous localities have mandated that chain restaurants post nutrition information at the point of purchase. However, some studies suggest that consumers are not highly responsive to menu labelling. The present qualitative study explored influences on full-service restaurant customers' noticing and using menu labelling. Five focus groups were conducted with thirty-six consumers. A semi-structured script elicited barriers and facilitators to using nutrition information by showing excerpts of real menus from full-service chain restaurants. Participants were recruited from a full-service restaurant chain in Philadelphia, PA, in September 2011. Focus group participants were mostly female, African American, with incomes <$60,000, mean age 36 years and education 14.5 years. At recruitment, 33% (n=12) reported changing their order after seeing nutrition information on the menu. Results found that three themes characterized influences on label use in restaurants: nutrition knowledge, menu design and display, and normative attitudes and behaviours. Barriers to using labels were low prior knowledge of nutrition; displaying nutrition information using codes; low expectations of the nutritional quality of restaurant food; and restaurant discounts, promotions and social influences that overwhelmed interest in nutrition and reinforced disinterest in nutrition. Facilitators were higher prior knowledge of recommended daily intake; spending time reading the menu; having strong prior interest in nutrition/healthy eating; and being with people who reinforced dietary priorities. The authors concluded that menu labelling use may increase if consumers learn a few key recommended dietary reference values, understand basic energy intake/expenditure scenarios and if chain restaurants present nutrition information in a user-friendly way and promote healthier items.
a. CitationNamba A, Auchincloss A, Leonberg BL, Wootan MG. Exploratory Analysis of Fast-Food Chain Restaurant Menus Before and After Implementation of Local Calorie-Labeling Policies, 2005 - 2011. Prev Chronic Dis 2013;10:120224.b. Link to the article (open access) click here
Since 2008, several states and municipalities have implemented regulations requiring provision of nutrition information at chain restaurants to address obesity. Although early research into the effect of such labels on consumer decisions has shown mixed results, little information exists on the restaurant industry's response to labeling. The objective of this exploratory study was to evaluate the effect of menu labeling on fast-food menu offerings over 7 years, from 2005 through 2011. Menus from 5 fast-food chains that had outlets in jurisdictions subject to menu-labeling laws (cases) were compared with menus from 4 fast-food chains operating in jurisdictions not requiring labeling (controls). A trend analysis assessed whether case restaurants improved the healthfulness of their menus relative to the control restaurants. Results found the overall prevalence of "healthier" food options remained low, although a noteworthy increase was seen after 2008 in locations with menu-labeling laws relative to those without such laws. Healthier food options increased from 13% to 20% at case locations while remaining static at 8% at control locations (test for difference in the trend, P = .02). Since 2005, the average calories for an a la carte entree remained moderately high (approximately 450 kilocalories), with less than 25% of all entrées and sides qualifying as healthier and no clear systematic differences in the trend between chain restaurants in case versus control areas (P ≥ .50). These findings suggest that menu labeling has thus far not affected the average nutritional content of fast-food menu items, but it may motivate restaurants to increase the availability of healthier options.
a. CitationAuchincloss AH, Weinberger R, Aytur S, Namba A, Ricchezza A. Public parking fees and fines: a survey of U.S. Cities. Public Works Management and Policyb. Link. This article is currently in press at the journal. A link will be made available when the article is published.
c. Link to data in Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is password protected and available via email. click here
d. AbstractResearchers and practitioners who are interested in whether low parking costs may play a role in skewing travel toward the private automobile and away from transit have been hampered by the lack of systematic data on parking costs. This exploratory study reports on downtown public parking costs using a 2009 survey of public parking agencies in 107 U.S. cities. On average, on-street meters allowed parking for up to 2 hours and charged $1.00 per hour while off-street "commuter" lots charged $11 per day. Median fees for violating regulations ranged from $25 (meter violations) up to $200 (handicapped parking violations). Exploratory multivariable regression results found higher parking cost was associated with an increase in public transit miles in larger cities (adjusted for economic features of the city). This preliminary, exploratory study provides baseline data with which to compare future parking data that could inform parking policy's influence on mode choice.
a. Citation This study is currently in the field.
b. Link. This study is currently in the field. A link will be made available when the article is published.
c. ObjectiveThe overarching goal of this study is to conduct an opportunistic evaluation in a disadvantaged urban community of the effectiveness of a federally-funded urban greenway in increasing physical activity among adults and youth. The study will provide key decision- and policy-makers with evidence to guide future improvements of neighborhood environments to enhance physically activity.