Original Article

Eating and Weight Disorders - Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 255-261

First online:

Calorie estimation accuracy and menu labeling perceptions among individuals with and without binge eating and/or purging disorders

  • Christina A. RobertoAffiliated withRobert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar, Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health Email author 
  • , Ann F. HaynosAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Nevada
  • , Marlene B. SchwartzAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Yale University
  • , Kelly D. BrownellAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology and School of Public Health, Yale University
  • , Marney A. WhiteAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Department of Psychology, School of Public Health, Yale University

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Menu labeling is a public health policy that requires chain restaurants in the USA to post kilocalorie information on their menus to help consumers make informed choices. However, there is concern that such a policy might promote disordered eating. This web-based study compared individuals with self-reported binge eating disorder (N = 52), bulimia nervosa (N = 25), and purging disorder (N = 17) and those without eating disorders (No ED) (N = 277) on restaurant calorie information knowledge and perceptions of menu labeling legislation. On average, people answered 1.46 ± 1.08 questions correctly (out of 6) (25 %) on a calorie information quiz and 92 % of the sample was in favor of menu labeling. The findings did not differ based on eating disorder, dieting, or weight status, or race/ethnicity. The results indicated that people have difficulty estimating the calories in restaurant meals and individuals with and without eating disorders are largely in favor of menu labeling laws.


Menu labeling Eating disorders Calorie estimation