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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1494; doi:10.3390/ijerph14121494

A Cluster Randomized Trial to Promote Healthy Menu Items for Children: The Kids’ Choice Restaurant Program

1
Graduate School of Public Health and the Institute for Behavioral and Community Health (IBACH), San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182, USA
2
Marketing Department, Fowler College of Business and IBACH, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182, USA
3
IBACH, San Diego State University Research Foundation, 9245 Sky Park Court, Suite 220, San Diego, CA 92123, USA
4
Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, Family Medicine and Public Health, 9500 Gilman Drive, #0725, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Environment, Diet, and Health)
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Abstract

Evidence indicates that restaurant-based interventions have the potential to promote healthier purchasing and improve the nutrients consumed. This study adds to this body of research by reporting the results of a trial focused on promoting the sale of healthy child menu items in independently owned restaurants. Eight pair-matched restaurants that met the eligibility criteria were randomized to a menu-only versus a menu-plus intervention condition. Both of the conditions implemented new healthy child menu items and received support for implementation for eight weeks. The menu-plus condition also conducted a marketing campaign involving employee trainings and promotional materials. Process evaluation data captured intervention implementation. Sales of new and existing child menu items were tracked for 16 weeks. Results indicated that the interventions were implemented with moderate to high fidelity depending on the component. Sales of new healthy child menu items occurred immediately, but decreased during the post-intervention period in both conditions. Sales of existing child menu items demonstrated a time by condition effect with restaurants in the menu-plus condition observing significant decreases and menu-only restaurants observing significant increases in sales of existing child menu items. Additional efforts are needed to inform sustainable methods for improving access to healthy foods and beverages in restaurants. View Full-Text
Keywords: restaurant; food availability; food marketing; child menu restaurant; food availability; food marketing; child menu
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Ayala, G.X.; Castro, I.A.; Pickrel, J.L.; Lin, S.-F.; Williams, C.B.; Madanat, H.; Jun, H.-J.; Zive, M. A Cluster Randomized Trial to Promote Healthy Menu Items for Children: The Kids’ Choice Restaurant Program. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1494.

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