Calorie Labeling in Chain Restaurants and Body Weight: Evidence from New York

Health Econ. 2017 Oct;26(10):1191-1209. doi: 10.1002/hec.3389. Epub 2016 Jul 24.


This study analyzes the impact of local mandatory calorie labeling laws implemented by New York jurisdictions on body weight. The analysis indicates that on average the point-of-purchase provision of calorie information on chain restaurant menus reduced body mass index (BMI) by 1.5% and lowered the risk of obesity by 12%. Quantile regression results indicate that calorie labeling has similar impacts across the BMI distribution. An analysis of heterogeneity suggests that calorie labeling has a larger impact on the body weight of lower income individuals, especially lower income minorities. The estimated impacts of calorie labeling on physical activity, smoking, and the consumption of alcoholic beverages, fruits, and vegetables are small in magnitude, which suggests that other margins of adjustment drive the body-weight impacts estimated here. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: body mass index; calorie labeling; chain restaurants; obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake
  • Exercise
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • New York
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Product Labeling / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Restaurants / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors