In this episode, we speak with Dr. Christina Roberto, the director of the Psychology of Eating and Consumer Health Lab (PEACH Lab) at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Roberto has been a leading researcher of recent studies that have looked into menu labelling policies in the United States. Dr. Roberto tells us how menu labelling policies sprung up in cities like New York and Philadelphia, as well as the state of California, before being rolled out nationally in the U.S. under the Affordable Care Act. Like Ontario’s Healthy Menu Choices Act, the Affordable Care Act will require chain restaurants, grocery stores and other food retail establishments with 20 more locations in the U.S. to post calorie information by May of this year.
Dr. Roberto tells us how research has found that restaurants located in jurisdictions with menu labelling in place were more likely to introduce healthier items to their menus. She also tells us about additional policies and interesting efforts going on to improve our health and diets, like hospitals choosing not serve fast food and sugary drinks. Dr. Roberto’s work draws upon the fields of psychology, marketing, behavioral economics, epidemiology, and public health to answer questions and provide policymakers and institutions with scientific guidance.