Calories from newspaper dessert recipes are associated with community obesity rates

Catherine A. McCarty, Daniel J. McCarty, Annie C. Wetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to determine if the nutrient content of recipes available in newspapers is related to community obesity rates. Methods: All recipes published in the major newspapers for 3 cities with populations of 400,000 or more from 4 geographic areas within the United States the last week of August 2000 were accessed. The recipes were grouped as entrée, dessert, accompaniment, snack, appetizer, or beverage, and the nutrient content per serving for each recipe was calculated. The nutrient content was correlated with data on self-reported obesity rates in these same cities. Results: Total mean kcalories per dessert serving ranged from 180.0 to 599.0 (mean=315.5) and total mean kcalories per entrée serving ranged from 265.4 to 567.3 (mean=436.7). Obesity rates for the 12 cities ranged from 16.8% to 28.2% (mean=21.1%). The average total caloric content of dessert recipes was significantly associated with the percent obese in the metropolitan cities (correlation=0.76, P-value=0.011). The total caloric content of entrée recipes was not significantly associated with the obesity rate (P=0.59). Discussion: While these data cannot be interpreted as causal, they are intriguing and suggest that newspapers may play a greater role in promoting or preventing obesity than previously recognized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-70
Number of pages3
JournalWisconsin medical journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 20 2007


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