The Impact and Social Context of Nutritional Labeling and Its Implications for Consumer Food Choices
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The rates of obesity, diabetes and other nutrition-related illnesses have been significantly increasing over the last years. Moreover, the relationship has been established between the growing percentage of these problems and the development of the food industry, in particular, restaurants. One of the first significant policy efforts to increase consumers’ awareness and address these issues was made in 2008 in New York City, when restaurant chains were mandated to provide calorie information on their signage. This led to further action across the country, bringing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, which instructed all the states to fulfill the same requirement. Meanwhile, to support this action and improve overall population health, researchers, health professionals and organizations have been developing different nutritional labeling systems, assessing their effectiveness and simplicity of usage. Current study aims to contribute to this relevant issue by exploring whether nutritional labeling can reduce purchase of unhealthy and high in calories food, and reviewing sociological factors that influence the impact of such labeling.