Date of Publication

Spring 1-17-2018


Introduction. The AHA (American Heart Association) supports legislation in Ver- mont ensuring that restaurants’ children’s menu meals meet certain nutritional standards. This study investigated Vermont parents’ attitudes towards both dining at restaurants with their children and potential legislation to improve nutritional standards of restaurant food.

Methods. An anonymous 21-question survey for parents with children under age 18 was distributed electronically to local organizations via Facebook groups and email, and as paper questionnaires at the Community Health Center of Burlington. Questions probed parents’ overall attitudes surrounding their children’s health, habits pertaining to eating at restaurants, and attitudes towards legislation to ensure healthier options for kids at restaurants. Results were analyzed to look for dominant themes and determine differences between subgroups.

Results. 98% of survey participants agreed or strongly agreed that their children’s eating habits are important to them. When asked if they would support legislation to set nutrition standards on children’s menu meals in Vermont, 73% agreed or strongly agreed. Most survey participants eat at a restaurant once per week or less (95%). 53% of survey participants agreed or strongly agreed that there were enough restaurants with healthy kids’ meals in their area. Responses did not differ by county.

Conclusion. Vermont parents are concerned about their children’s diets and acknowledge connections between nutrition, obesity, and overall health. Parents favor restaurants providing more nutritional items on children’s menus and support the AHA’s proposed standards. Next steps include investigating any financial impact on restaurants and studying nutritional standards in school cafeterias in Vermont.


Paula Tracy

UVM Larner College of Medicine

Tina Zuk

American Heart Association


Early and Middle Childhood, Nutrition and Weight Status

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

Health and Nutrition in Vermont Children