Americans Need Traffic-Light Color Coding to Make Healthy Choices

Cruise through that salad.
Cruise through that salad. Photo: Jens Haas/Corbis

Stop: Health advocates are on a new mission. Apparently, listing calorie counts on a menu isn’t enough to dissuade people from ordering fried-cheese melts and double-quarter pounders. A new study shows that the least health-conscious diners respond better to symbolic calorie labels, with traffic lights representing nutritional information. When red lights appeared next to dishes over 800 calories, people at a restaurant on the Oklahoma State University campus ate 121 calories less than they did when ordering off standard menus. Why read and comprehend words and numbers when you can just point to blobs of color on a page? We’re always the world leaders when it comes to sophistication. [Reuters]