Do calories count with fast food?

Eating a burger


CORRECTION

In the audio for this story, the introduction incorrectly suggests the study's conclusion -- that knowing calorie counts of fast food items would not help people make healthier food choices. In fact, one of the study's recommendations for helping people make healthier food choices is to have calorie counts clearly posted. The corrected introduction appears in the text below.


TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: The New York Restaurant Association is back in court today trying to stop the city from requiring calorie counts on menus. But a new study suggests calorie information might be just what the doctor ordered. Alisa Roth has more.


Alisa Roth: The new study says if fast food is there, we'll eat it. Harold Goldstein is executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, one of the groups that did the study.

Harold Goldstein: We're living in a junk food jungle and, not surprisingly, we're seeing rising rates of obesity and diabetes.

Twenty percent more diabetes and 23 percent more obesity to be exact, compared to people who live in neighborhoods with a lot of supermarkets and produce stores. Goldstein says it doesn't matter how much money people make, what race or ethnicity they are, their ages or how much they exercise.

Harold Goldstein:: So, what this study shows is that, whether we realize it or not, the food options available in our neighborhoods influence our health.

The study looked at 40,000 Californians, but Goldstein says the data will hold up anywhere in the country. Among other recommendations, he and his colleagues suggest cities limit the number of fast food restaurants and encourage groceries and other businesses that sell healthy food.

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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