Public unaware of nutrition at restaurants

by Staff
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DAVIS, CALIF. — On average, only 10% of Californians are able to choose the healthiest item from a list of common fast foods, according to a Field Research Corp. poll.

Field Research polled 523 California voters in March and asked them to select low calorie, low salt, high fat and high calorie items from a list of four menu options from popular restaurants and fast-food chains.

None of the individuals polled answered all four questions correct, and less than 1% answered three of four questions right. Sixty-eight per cent failed all four questions.

"I have a doctorate in public health, and I failed this quiz," said Dr. Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. "And common sense does not help either. Who would think that a large chocolate shake at McDonald’s has more calories than two Big Macs?"

Respondents gave incorrect answers, but relatively few of them said they were unsure of the answers. In this poll, less than 8% said they didn’t know the answers, and typically 15% to 20% of participants in a poll choose this option.

"The implication is that consumers think they are making healthy decisions when in fact they are wrong, dead wrong," said Mark DiCamillo, field poll director.

Overall, the poll showed the need for improved nutritional information when buying food. Eighty-four per cent of those surveyed said they support requiring fast-food and chain restaurants to publish nutritional information on menus and menu boards.

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