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Color-coded labels, healthier food

Color-coded labels, healthier food | Health Tips | Scoop.it

Marking such items and displaying them better prompts cafeteria diners to make more wholesome long-term choices

Using color-coded labels to mark healthier foods and then displaying them more prominently appears to have prompted customers to make more healthful long-term dining choices in their large hospital cafeteria, according to a report from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).  Previously reported changes have continued up to two years after the labeling intervention was introduced.

“Our current results show that the significant changes in the purchase patterns of both hospital employees and all customers resulting from the labels and the choice architecture program did not fade away as cafeteria patrons became used to them,”

”This is good evidence that these changes in healthy choices persist over time.”

The first phase involved the application of “traffic light” labels — green for the healthiest items, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of protein; yellow for less healthy items; and red for those with little or no nutritional value — to all items in the main hospital cafeteria. Several weeks before the labels were introduced, cafeteria cash registers began to identify and record each purchased item as red, yellow, or green.

The current study analyzed purchase patterns for the 24 months following the program’s implementation and found that the changes present at the end of the first year were virtually unchanged at the end of the second. Overall, purchases of “green” items had increased 12% , compared with the pre-intervention period, and “red” item purchases dropped 20%. Purchases of “red” beverages — primarily sugar-sweetened beverages — dropped 39%, while “green” beverage purchases increased 10%. The changes remained similar for all types of employees, and overall cafeteria sales during the two-year period were stable.


Via Seth Bilazarian, MD
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Seth Bilazarian, MD's curator insight, January 8, 2014 2:21 PM

Like many nutrition issues helping end users get educated is of paramount importance.  People can't make wise choices if they don't know what the best nutritional options are, but this study took it a step further by adding the information at the point of selection and purchase.  It worked well, but as a user of the cafeteria it's still a challenge to avoid the Papa Gino's pizza station after a long day. 

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Here's Why Eating McDonalds Every Day Is A Bad Idea (Even If You Do Lose Weight)

Here's Why Eating McDonalds Every Day Is A Bad Idea (Even If You Do Lose Weight) | Health Tips | Scoop.it

Can you lose weight eating nothing but McDonald's for three months? Yes — as evidenced by the now-famous science teacher who reportedly did just that.

But — while we don't recommend it — you could also lose weight eating nothing but jellybeans. The real story is about portion size and exercise: Cisna went from not exercising or watching his food intake to walking for 45 minutes each day and carefully restricting himself to 2,000 calories and recommended dietary allowances for carbohydrates, cholesterol, etc. (Compare that to Spurlock's 5,000 daily calories and many sodas during Super Size Me.)

Are there nutrients in McDonald's apple slices and side salads? Of course. But navigating a fast food menu so that you get the nutrients you need without completely overloading on calories, sugar, carbohydrates, and saturated fat would be a difficult and perhaps futile endeavor. If your end goal is to improve your health, it would also be ill-advised.


Via Seth Bilazarian, MD
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Seth Bilazarian, MD's curator insight, January 7, 2014 10:27 AM

Little to add here.  We live in a calorie dense environment.  Avoiding circumstances and places where the calories are dense and nutritional options limited is sensible and wise.  The more people that avoid fast food purveyors the more they will be responsive with better nutritional options. The fast food makers are capitalists.

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25 Ways to Cut 500 Calories a Day

25 Ways to Cut 500 Calories a Day | Health Tips | Scoop.it
The most basic way to lose weight is to slash calories. But how many do you really have to cut to see results? Its simple: You can drop two pounds a week by trimming 500 calories each day.
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How Regular Exercise Helps You Balance Work and Family

How Regular Exercise Helps You Balance Work and Family | Health Tips | Scoop.it
A reduction in stress is tantamount to an expansion of time.

... the neat trick of successfully integrating work and life mainly through a skillful alignment of priorities

But something else about them, it turns out, has probably helped: their adherence to regular exercise. New research by my colleagues and I (forthcoming in Human Resource Management) demonstrates a clear relationship between physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and purposive – to use Caspersen and colleagues’ seminal definition of exercise – and one’s ability to manage the intersection between work and home.

My colleagues and I surveyed a population of working adults to gather input regarding both their exercise habits and their experience of resolving work and home demands. Briefly, those respondents who reported regular exercise were less likely to experience conflict between their work and home roles.

That’s a somewhat counterintuitive finding. An exercise regimen is, after all, yet another draw onscarce time – and often deleted from professionals’ lives for exactly that reason. How could adding it to an already busy schedule help resolve work/home tradeoffs?


Via Seth Bilazarian, MD
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Seth Bilazarian, MD's curator insight, January 6, 2014 8:28 AM

The short and long term benefits of physical and mental health provided by regular exercise are well documented, but now ALSO more successful integration of work and family.  Compelling evidence becomes more compelling.

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25 Ways to Cut 500 Calories a Day

25 Ways to Cut 500 Calories a Day | Health Tips | Scoop.it
The most basic way to lose weight is to slash calories. But how many do you really have to cut to see results? Its simple: You can drop two pounds a week by trimming 500 calories each day.
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No comment yet.