Carol Landau, PhD - Have you had your 1200 calories of movie theater popcorn today?
Part of the health care reform act requires nutritional information to be posted in those restaurants, corner stores, coffee shops, and movie theaters that have more than 20 locations. But on April Fool’s Day, the FDA announced that movie theaters would now be excluded from the regulation, with the justification that selling food was not the major goal of theaters.
We thought that the FDA’s goal was to help Americans fight obesity through greater awareness of caloric consumption. April Fools! Given what we know about eating patterns, snacking is a big part of the problem, whether it occurs at home or at the movies. Remember that, according to a 2009 analysis by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a large popcorn, movie-style, contains up to 1200 calories, not including the buttery topping! That is more than half of the dailyallotment of 2000 calories for a 35-year-old moderately active woman. Add a large soda containing at least another 300 caloriesand congratulations: you have 500 calories left for the rest of the day.
According to The National Association of Theater Owners, movie theaters should be exempt because they offer “escapist entertainment.” It didn’t add that concession stands account for one third of their revenues. This exclusion is an irresponsible reversal by the FDA. A spokesman for the agency stated that it remains open to more public input on this decision. Maybe they need to hear from those of us who are concerned about obesity, those of us who believe the more nutritional information available before we choose our snacks, the better.
Carol Landau, Ph.D.