Calorie labelling on menus does little to deter customers from choosing more fattening options, research in New York has found.
Only a minority of people, about one in six, pays attention to calorie information on menus when eating at fast-food outlets such as McDonald's or KFC, according to the report published in the British Medical Journal.
The findings are taken from a study of 11 restaurant chains in New York, where calorie labelling in fast-food outlets has been compulsory since July 2008.
The survey, which questioned 7,000 people in 2007 and another 8,500 in 2009 - before and after the compulsory labelling was introduced - across 168 locations, found that only 15% of diners changed their eating habits, reducing their intake by an average of 106 calories.
The highest degree of change came from customers at sandwich store Au Bon Pain, as well as McDonald's and KFC, both of which are signed up to the UK government's health responsibility deal on food, which will include calorie labelling on menus from September.
By Tom Vaughan
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