Bureau of Environmental Health

Washington, MA, United States

Bureau of Environmental Health

Washington, MA, United States

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Block J.P.,Harvard University | Condon S.K.,Bureau of Environmental Health | Kleinman K.,Harvard University | Linakis S.,Harvard University | And 2 more authors.
BMJ (Online) | Year: 2013

Objective To investigate estimation of calorie (energy) content of meals from fast food restaurants in adults, adolescents, and school age children. Design Cross sectional study of repeated visits to fast food restaurant chains. Setting 89 fast food restaurants in four cities in New England, United States: McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, Wendy's, KFC, Dunkin' Donuts. Participants 1877 adults and 330 school age children visiting restaurants at dinnertime (evening meal) in 2010 and 2011; 1178 adolescents visiting restaurants after school or at lunchtime in 2010 and 2011. Main outcome measure Estimated calorie content of purchased meals. Results Among adults, adolescents, and school age children, the mean actual calorie content of meals was 836 calories (SD 465), 756 calories (SD 455), and 733 calories (SD 359), respectively. A calorie is equivalent to 4.18 kJ. Compared with the actual figures, participants underestimated calorie content by means of 175 calories (95% confidence interval 145 to 205), 259 calories (227 to 291), and 175 calories (108 to 242), respectively. In multivariable linear regression models, underestimation of calorie content increased substantially as the actual meal calorie content increased. Adults and adolescents eating at Subway estimated 20% and 25% lower calorie content than McDonald's diners (relative change 0.80, 95% confidence interval 0.66 to 0.96; 0.75, 0.57 to 0.99). Conclusions People eating at fast food restaurants underestimate the calorie content of meals, especially large meals. Education of consumers through calorie menu labeling and other outreach efforts might reduce the large degree of underestimation.


Medaglia F.,Bureau of Environmental Health | Knorr R.S.,Bureau of Environmental Health | Condon S.K.,Bureau of Environmental Health | Charleston A.C.,Bureau of Environmental Health
Journal of School Health | Year: 2013

BACKGROUND: Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children today, yet surveillance is limited to national and state estimates which can vary over time, by location and by population types. This article describes a comprehensive statewide school-based asthma surveillance program and examine 5years of surveillance data. METHODS: After pilot testing, a 1-page survey was mailed to school nurses in all public, private, and charter schools in Massachusetts. Variables measured included the number of students with a diagnosis of asthma by sex, grade (K-8), race/ethnicity by school and by community of residence. RESULTS: The participation rate increased each year, and by the 5th year it was nearly 100%. The reported asthma prevalence was 10.6% (averaged for the 5-year period) and noted to be higher among males each year. CONCLUSIONS: This work provides evidence that a school-based pediatric asthma surveillance system can be developed and successfully implemented. The feasibility of using school health records, as an accessible data source to readily identify asthma cases can provide reliable aggregate community-based pediatric asthma prevalence information. © 2013, American School Health Association.

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