In pursuit of a skinny latte? Then you better hold that scone…

New Yorkers picking up their usual coffee and muffin at Dunkin Donuts recently were in for a rude awakening. Listed next to the price of their favorite muffin, scone or cookie was – unavoidably – the calorie count.

A law passed recently in New York City states chain restaurants will now have to publicly display the calorie content of each menu item right next to the price. Reactions have been mixed – some are thrilled, some (for whom ignorance may be bliss) are annoyed, and most are shocked. (A Dunkin donuts cornbread muffin… just a mere 510 calories! An 150 lb woman jogging at a 10 min pace for 50 minutes would knock that off. Ouch!)

I think this is an amazing first step for changing the tide of the obesity boom in our country. Of course, personal responsibility is a huge part of the changes that need to occur, but I have never believed that we had simply become just a nation full of people lacking willpower. Education is an essential ingredient to any lifestyle change, and I think most people simply have not had the information at their fingertips of what they are taking in. 40 years ago, no one believed we’d make the changes we have made in this country regarding smoking. Through persistent public health endeavors we have changed cultural norms about smoking. Did you ever imagine that to have a cigarette you’d have to step outside and stand in a glass enclosure, segregated from a population demanding their clean air and garnering glances of disapproval and scorn? It took years, but we changed our society. This small step from the Big Apple may be the one of first major moves in changing many of the cultural and social trends that have made weight loss / management a challenging personal endeavor in an simply unsupportive environment.

Food For Thought: What do you think? A first step towards changing the tide or just another public health warning we’ll continue to ignore? Do you think this will catch on in other cities? Do you think this will change what customers demand and thus, what food producers / restaurants offer? I welcome your thoughts!

Read the article from MSNBC here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25464987/