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New Study Says Calorie Labeling Laws Positively Affect Eating Habits

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New Study Says Calorie Labeling Laws Positively Affect Eating Habits

Experts have debated for months the impact of calorie labeling on fast food restaurant menus and whether the labels change consumers' eating habits.

However, research recently published in the British Medical Journal and funded by New York City and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that New York City's 2008 calorie labeling law actually impacts customer's buying habits. Specifically, consumers who ate at McDonald's, Au Bon Pain and KFC made alterations to their choices, Reuters reported.

Researchers believe that once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration goes national with its calorie labeling initiative, requiring all restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to label nutritional information on menus, consumers will lower their intake of unhealthy foods.

"We're optimistic, as calorie labels go national, and consumers become accustomed to using the information, that chains will have a strong incentive to offer lower calorie options," Dr. Lynn Silver, director of New York City's Office of Science and Policy and co-author of the report, told the source.

Under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, the government is mandated to launch efforts to stem the obesity rate across the country.