New research suggests that putting conversions on restaurant menus that are based on physical activities—as opposed to just calorie counts—can persuade people to make healthier choices.
A study at the Chapel Hill School of Medicine presented individuals with one of four hypothetical restaurant menus:
- Just calorie counts.
- Calorie counts supplemented with the number of minutes one would need to walk to burn off those calories.
- Calorie counts supplemented with the distance necessary to walk them off.
- The fourth menu had no nutritional data whatsoever.
The winner? Menu #3. People who viewed menus featuring the walking-distance necessary to burn off the calories in fact ordered meals with the fewest calories.
The results suggest that people are less likely to order fattening foods if they know how much exercise it would take to burn off those calories. Public health experts are encouraged by the results.