David Frisvold, assistant professor of economics, is studying how obesity rates are affected in communities where restaurants publish the calorie counts of the food they serve. His research recently was awarded a $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the nationwide impact of menu labeling.
Since 2011 he has been collecting menus and the nutritional content of menu items in places where local ordinances require restaurants to publish calorie counts.
He leads a team that has been surveying consumers since 2015 and will conduct three additional surveys in the next two years. They will continue to collect menu data for another three years. The project also will use health databases that measure obesity rates and compare data from before and after the menu labeling requirements took effect.
Frisvold says he expects this project to improve researchers’ understanding of the impact that greater access to information has on obesity rates as well as the mechanisms through which calorie posting influences obesity.