In this Atlantic article from October 8, author Corby Kummer takes another look at the initial results of New York’s calorie-labeling laws by calling into question some of the methods and timing of the study written about in the New York Times article, which offered up a pretty dim outlook.
He points out that the study was perhaps conducted too soon and on too small and specific a population to give a clear idea of whether the laws have had much of a positive impact. In discussing some of the pros and cons of the laws, he also brings up the fact that some companies, in addition to posting the calorie content of their foods, have also begun to reformulate some of their recipes in an attempt to lower calories.
“Public health,” he said, “is about protecting the whole public, not any subset, even if underserved and strongly affected subsets are of course its frequent focus. It’s about making society safer and healthier.”
I tend to agree with that. I find it interesting, though not in a good way, that so much research focuses only on low-income populations. While data shows that these populations do show the highest incidences of obesity and related health conditions, it’s just one piece of a much larger societal puzzle, the way that calorie labeling is just one corner of a very big picture.