Enlightened eating

Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 16:00 in Health & Medicine

A simple program involving color-coded food labeling and adjusting the way food items are positioned in display cases was successful in encouraging healthy choices in a large hospital cafeteria. The report from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers will appear in the March American Journal of Public Health and has received early online release. “We found that labeling all foods and beverages with a simple red, yellow, and green color scheme to indicate their relative healthiness led patrons to purchase more of the healthy and fewer of the unhealthy items,” said Anne Thorndike of the MGH division of general medicine, who led the study.  “We also found that moving items around to make the healthy items more convenient and visible led to further improvement in the nutritional quality of items purchased.” Thorndike is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The authors note that most point-of-purchase efforts to encourage more nutritious choices focus...

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