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An Observational Study of Nutrition: Trends in the Healthiness of U.S. Restaurant Meals

By: Edited by: Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health
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Obesity is a major health issue in the United States. Poor diet increases the risk for obesity and overweight, chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Given the popularity of restaurants, evaluating the healthiness of restaurant meals is needed. My research aimed to evaluate the healthiness of meals in U.S. restaurants. The study used MenuStat data to cross-sectionally evaluate the healthiness of meals in 2017, and evaluate whether the healthiness of meals has changed over time. Key issues that were navigated during the research process included determining data inclusion criteria, determining the study design, data analysis, and defining research measures. Practical lessons learned include keep track of your work, look at the data using visual tools, and summarize the existing literature in a table for easy reference. Research characterizing the healthiness of meals offered at U.S. restaurants can help to inform public health efforts to improve Americans’ diets.

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