(HealthDay News) – >40% of youth eating at a fast food restaurant notice and sometimes use posted calorie information when making food choices, according to research published online May 22 in the Journal of Public Health.

Holly Wethington, PhD, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from a sample of 721 youth (9–18 years old) participating in the 2010 YouthStyles and HealthStyles surveys.

The researchers found that, of those participants who visited fast food/chain restaurants, 42.4% reported using calorie information at least sometimes. Calorie information was more likely to be used by girls than boys (adjusted odds ratio (aOR), 1.8) and by obese youth compared to those at a healthy weight (aOR, 1.7). Youth eating at a fast food/chain restaurant twice a week or more were half as likely to report using calorie information as those visiting once a week or less (aOR, 0.5).

“Public health education efforts can benefit from research to determine how to increase usage among youth so that their food choices are appropriate for their caloric needs,” the authors write.

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