Friday, November 13, 2009
Eating By the Numbers
There's an interesting Op-Ed in the New York Times today which you can view here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/13/opinion/13lowenstein.html?_r=1&ref=opinion
Apparently, buried in the health care bill working its way through congress is a provision requiring chain chain restaurants to post their calorie counts on their menus.
The authors of the op-ed take a rather dim view of this proposal (gee, I wonder who they actually work for? Could it be McDonalds?)
Here's their big argument. In NYC, where they already have to post calories, only 56% are aware that the calories are posted, and of those only 25% choose fewer calories because of it.
My counter-arguments. First, the longer the law is in existence, the more people will be aware of it. Second, even if only 25% use the information, that's 25% more that hopefully won't have weight problems (and I have problems with their data since they apparently only studied behaviors in McDonalds. Something tells me that if you're eating in McDonalds, you're unlikely to be concerned about calories to begin with).
Here's the deal. I want to easily figure out what's the best option for me, calorie-wise, when I go out to eat. Yes, I can look up the information on-line, but it would be so much easier and nicer to just have the damn data stamped on my menu. It would save me 15 minutes looking it up, and as any working Mom will attest, 15 minutes is a big deal in any day.
So, I would use the data, and even if only 25% of 56% now use the information, as time passes, and knowledge of the existence of the information exists, both the 56% number and the 25% number will both increase.