Skip Navigation

HHS HealthBeat (November 28, 2012)

Counting the calories

A double cheeseburger, fries and a drink.

Take the Next Step
Calorie Count

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Nicholas Garlow with HHS HealthBeat.

Think about the last meal you had at a fast food restaurant. How many calories do you think it was? Researchers asked parents of school-aged children the same question.

They collected receipts from parents at certain fast food restaurants and asked them, among other things, to estimate the calorie count of the meals they purchased for their children.

Jason Block is a physician at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.

“On average, the meal calorie content for children is about 700 calories. Parents underestimate that calorie content by about 175 calories.”

About three quarters of parents underestimated calorie content. As the size of the meal increased, parents would underestimate more and more. 

The study presented at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Nicholas Garlow.

Last revised: November 28, 2012