Public’s calorie literacy and perceived effectiveness of restaurant menu calorie labeling in the United Arab Emirates

Leila Cheikh Ismail, Hanin Kassem, Tareq M. Osaili, Mona Hashim, Reyad Obaid, Hadia Radwan, Maysm N. Mohamad, Sheima T. Saleh, Zein Al Zomut, Salma Abu Qiyas, Radhiya Al Rajaby, Rameez Al Daour, Habiba I. Ali, Lily Stojanovska, Ayesha S. Al Dhaheri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Restaurant menu calorie labeling is regarded as a promising, cost-effective, and innovative method that will have an impact on the food environment, raise awareness among consumers, and aid in global efforts to prevent obesity. This study aimed to assess the public’s calorie literacy, dining practices, and perceived effectiveness of restaurant menu labeling implementation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A descriptive, web-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 1279 adults in the UAE. Socio-demographic characteristics, calorie literacy, and perceived effectiveness of restaurant menu labeling among participants were investigated. Chi-square analysis was used to compare indicators across demographic characteristics. More females than males completed the online survey, (56.1% and 43.9%). Most of the participants aged < 30 years old (54.8%), The majority of participants reported eating away from home at least once per week (89.6%). 66.0% of participants were knowledgeable about calorie definition, but only 37.1% knew about average daily energy requirements. Younger participants, with a normal BMI, and higher education levels reported a significantly higher likelihood of eating at a chain restaurant with caloric information on the menu (p <0.05). The majority of participants (76.0%) preferred to see calorie information and other nutrition information on menus. To conclude, menu labeling is a welcomed policy to be implemented in food outlets. Further investigation is necessary to ascertain the most efficacious method of presenting nutrition information to consumers to facilitate informed purchasing decisions considering the potential benefits of mandating calorie declaration in obesity prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0293387
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10 October
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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