While the majority of Americans favor labeling menus with calorie and nutrition information, new research from the American Journal of Public Health now shows that Americans are actually using these resources.

The study finds that use and awareness of calorie information nearly tripled among consumers in King County, Washington, following implementation of their restaurant menu-labeling regulation.

The number of people who were aware of the menu labels increased from 18.6 percent to 59.4 percent between 2008 and 2010. Further, the number of people who used the calorie information increased from 8.1 percent to 24.8 percent between the same time period. Collectively, researchers estimate that following the policy implementation, 600,000 more adults saw the calorie information and 250,000 additional adults used the menu-labels in King County.

King County, Washington, enacted its menu-labeling regulations in January 2009, the second U.S. jurisdiction to implement such rules – following New York City’s inaugural regulation.

Since 2009, the menu-labeling regulations have gone national. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its new menu-labeling rule in November 2014 requiring chain restaurants and other food retailers to provide calorie information on menus and menu boards. Retailers and restaurants affected by the rule have until December 2015 to implement the new regulations.

“Lessons learned from King County and other jurisdictions that have studied the impact of their respective regulations may be useful as the Food and Drug Administration further develops national menu-labeling regulations,” authors of the study wrote.

Learn more about this study and other new public health research by visiting the American Journal of Public Health online.