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Strategy Profile: Fast-Food Restaurant Calorie Labeling

The information in this resource is intended only to provide educational information. This profile describes the estimated benefits, activities, resources, and leadership needed to implement a strategy to improve child health. This information can be useful for planning and prioritization purposes.

  • Require fast-food chain restaurants with 20 or more locations to list calories for standard menu items on menu boards along with succinct statements concerning suggested daily caloric intake.

What population benefits?

All youth and adults ages 2 years and older.

What are the estimated benefits?

Relative to not implementing the strategy
Decrease daily energy intake and, in turn, promote healthy weight.

What activities and resources are needed?

Activities Resources Who Leads?
Manage rollout of restaurant calorie menu labeling and communicate policy change to restaurant chains • Time of Food and Drug Administration to manage rollout Food and Drug Administration
Analyze nutrient content information for each menu item • Cost of analyzing menu items, by sending food items to lab for nutrition analysis or entering recipes in a nutrition database Chain retail food establishment
Replace menus and menu boards to comply with policy • Cost of designing new menus (if applicable)
• Replacement menu and menu board costs
Chain retail food establishment
Review rule requirements • Time for legal analyst to review rule requirements Chain retail food establishment
Monitor compliance with menu labeling policy • Time of public health department inspectors to monitor compliance Local public health department


Dupuis R, Block JP, Barrett JL, Long MW, Petimar J, Ward ZJ, Kenney EL, Musicus AA, Cannuscio CC, Williams DR, Bleich SN, Gortmaker SL. Cost-Effectiveness of Calorie Labeling at Large Fast-Food Chains Across the U.S. Am J Prev Med. doi:10.1016/j. amepre.2023.08.012. Epub 2023 Aug 14.

Suggested Citation

CHOICES Strategy Profile: Fast-Food Restaurant Calorie Labeling. CHOICES Project Team at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA; September 2023.


This work is supported by The JPB Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U48DP006376). The information provided here is intended to be used for educational purposes. Links to other resources and websites are intended to provide additional information aligned with this educational purpose. The findings and conclusions are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other funders.

Adapted from the TIDieR (Template for Intervention Description and Replication) Checklist

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