The increase in the weight of American adults and children has been positively associated with the prevalence of the consumption of food-away-from-home. The objective was to assess the accuracy of claimed nutritional information of foods purchased in contracted foodservices located on the campus of an institution of higher education. Fifty popular food items were randomly collected from five main dining outlets located on a selected campus in the northeastern United States. The sampling was repeated three times on separate occasions for an aggregate total of 150 food samples. The samples were then weighed and assessed for nutrient composition (protein, cholesterol, fiber, carbohydrates, total fat, calories, sugar, and sodium) using nutrient analysis software. Results were compared with foodservices' published nutrition information. Two group comparisons, claimed and measured, were performed using the paired-sample t-test. Descriptive statistics were used as well. Among the nine nutritional values, six nutrients (total fat, sodium, protein, fiber, cholesterol, and weight) had more than 10% positive average discrepancies between measured and claimed values. Statistical significance of the variance was obtained in four of the eight categories of nutrient content: total fat, sodium, protein, and cholesterol (. P<.05). Significance was also reached in the variance of actual portion weight compared to the published claims (. P<.001). Significant differences of portion size (weight), total fat, sodium, protein, and cholesterol were found among the sampled values and the foodservices' published claims. The findings from this study raise the concern that if the actual nutritional information does not accurately reflect the declared values on menus, conclusions, decisions and actions based on posted information may not be valid.
- Menu labeling
- Portion size