Posting calorie counts has been nothing if not controversial. In NYC the restaurants complained, and now on college campuses students are questioning the practice. In attempts to fight the freshman 15, dining halls have begun posting calorie counts, but there have been some negative consequences. Although about a third of all college students fall into the American College Health Association's obese or overweight categories, the calorie counts might be inadvertently provoking eating disorders.
The unstructured collegiate life, along with all-you-can-eat dining halls, can lead to disordered eating, which is broader than just anorexia and bulimia and includes unhealthy dieting practices. Students and nutritional advisers alike believe calorie counts oversimplify the thought process needed to learn balanced nutrition and that there is a better way to educate vulnerable students about weight gain. Some colleges now post nutritional information online, rather than in the cafeteria, and others have created healthy dining halls, free of french fries, fried chicken, and white bread. Hopefully, higher education can incorporate lessons of healthy living into campus life and help students learn the value of healthy eating and an active lifestyle.
How do you feel about posting calorie counts? Do you feel it can inspire a negative relationship with food?