Effects of a randomized intervention promoting healthy children's meals on children's ordering and dietary intake in a quick-service restaurant
Abstract & Authors:展开
BACKGROUND: Children's consumption of restaurant foods is associated with higher energy intake and lower nutritional quality compared to foods prepared at home. The aim of this pilot study was to test whether an in-restaurant intervention promoting healthy children's meals (i.e. two meals that met nutrition recommendations and were thus healthier than typical children's meal offerings across leading restaurants) affected children's meal selection and intake.
METHODS: Families with 4-to-8-year-old children were recruited from one location of Anderson's Frozen Custard, a regional quick-service restaurant chain. Families were randomly assigned to return to the restaurant during an intervention or control period and were blinded to group assignment. All families received free meals. During the intervention period families also received placemats featuring two healthy "Kids' Meals of the Day" upon restaurant entry. After families finished dining, researchers recorded children's orders and collected leftovers for quantifying dietary intake via weighed plate waste. Poisson regression and chi-square tests were used to compare children's orders between study groups, and t-tests were used to test for differences in dietary intake among children ordering a promoted healthy entrée (main dish) versus those who did not.
RESULTS: Fifty-eight families participated. Children who were exposed to the study placemats prior to ordering ordered a significantly greater number of healthy food components compared to controls (p = 0.03). Overall, in the intervention group, 21% of children ordered a healthy entrée or side dish, versus 7% of controls. Children who ordered one of the promoted healthy entrées consumed less saturated fat across the total meal compared to those who did not (p = 0.04).
CONCLUSIONS: Manipulating the prominence of healthy choices in restaurants may shift children's meal selections. Future research should build on these initial promising results, aiming to increase the potency of the intervention to achieve more widespread effects.
Stephanie Anzman-Frasca,Abbey C Braun,Sarah Ehrenberg,Leonard H Epstein,April Gampp,Lucia A Leone,Anita Singh,Sara Tauriello