Title

Looking Beyond Labeling: From Calories to Construction of New Menus and Venues for Healthier Eating

Publication Date

2015

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Calorie labeling on menus is one of the more recent public health responses to calls for increased access to nutrition information. The goal is to encourage consumers to make more healthy food choices. In this commentary on ‘Equity in Public Health Ethics: The Case of Menu Labelling Policy at the Local Level’, I focus first on research supporting health equity-directed goals for menu labeling policies; then I turn to the issue of challenges and opportunities for menu labeling as a part of local food policy and food activism. I argue that, while there is some evidence that changes in menu labeling may help to promote health equity, other moves are needed at all levels of political organization. In particular, effecting shifts in attitudes and consumption will require changing our relationships with the food sources in our neighborhoods, and changing those food sources themselves. Leveraging our knowledge of behavioral economics and social marketing, using social networks and developing programs to transform eating patterns; all of these require participation and coordination among many stakeholders. Menu labeling is one tool, but many others are needed to effect change in communities.

Original Citation

Womack, C.A. (2015). Looking Beyond Labeling: From Calories to Construction of New Menus and Venues for Healthier Eating. Public Health Ethics, 8(1), 103-105. https://doi.org/10.1093/phe/phv001