November 14, 2013 – The Health Department today launched a new website that offers a comprehensive view of the nutritional content of foods sold at the nation’s largest restaurant chains. MenuStat is a free, public website that contains restaurant nutrition data from 66 restaurant chains; data is included for every restaurant in the top 100 restaurants by sales that made nutrition data available in 2012 and 2013. The site sources data from the restaurant websites, provides historical, date-stamped information, and puts it into a format that allows for comparison across restaurants, food categories, and over time. Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley made the announcement this morning during his keynote speech at The Obesity Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting.
MenuStat is designed to be used by researchers, food industry professionals, health organizations and consumers interested in understanding nutrition trends. Users can search items by selecting specific criteria such as the calorie content of beverages on kids’ menus or the average grams of trans fat in fried potatoes, and, assess changes in nutrition content over time such as the sodium content of sandwiches in 2012 and 2013. The website also includes a graphing function and the option to export data to a spreadsheet for analysis.
“Foods eaten away from home account for nearly one-third of the calories Americans consume,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “MenuStat is different from other nutrition information websites in that it provides ‘time-stamped’ nutritional information so users can assess changes over time and it provides easy-to-use tools for comparisons and analysis.”
Restaurant meals are an increasingly important part of the U.S. diet, with almost half of the average household’s food budget spent on food consumed outside the home. For the average adult in the U.S, one additional meal consumed away from home increases daily caloric intake by over 130 calories. Many restaurant chains have pledged to offer a healthier mix of products. Giving consumers and advocates a simple way to compare foods and beverages among restaurants and over time further encourages restaurants to offer healthier items and makes it possible to track the changes they have made.
MenuStat was built by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, with funding in part from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To view MenuStat, visit MenuStat
For more information on healthy eating, visit nyc.gov and search for “healthy eating” or call 311.