You know those ridiculous studies scientists come out with periodically? ("New Research Shows Men and Women are Different!")
Here's a new one to add to the Obvious Files:
Putting calories on menus doesn't affect kids' food choices.
Wow, you could have knocked me over with a feather.
Here's a little something I've learned all on my own, without the aid of studies and bored researchers: Children and teenagers make food choices based on taste because they couldn't give a flying fig about calorie content or a healthy diet. Secondarily, they make food choices based on price - how else do you explain Taco Bell? Eating their tacos is like ingesting industrial strength food substitute, and yet, they're cheap and oddly satisfying, so I'm still drawn to them.
Yes, I realize I'm glossing over the lettuce-leaf-obsessed cheerleaders who eschew sugar and fat, but I would say most teens do not dive into salads out of any sort of desire for better health. The desire for popularity and size zero jeans is the driving force there.
As for the average teen, why should he care about calories? Teenagers are immortal. Death is, like, light years away (even 60 sounds like veritable geezer age to a teenager). If not to ward off an untimely death, what sort of motivation remains to eat healthy foods over a Snickers bar, especially when one can subsist on a diet of vending machine food and slurpees without any noticeable ill effects?
Luckily, this is why nature gave us these clever little inventions called "parents" - to make sure there is broccoli on the table, milk in the fridge, and that fast food restaurants come around on an infrequent basis. After all, what child is going to say, without parental prodding, "Mom, can we have brussel sprouts and fish tonight instead of pizza?"
Little kids are not going to eat peas for the health benefit. They are going to eat them because their mother says "You cannot leave this table until you eat your vegetables." And, when confronted with a menu at a restaurant, a teenager is not going to opt for carrot sticks when a burger and fries are readily available, regardless of how many calories are packed in to that quarter pounder.
Next up: "Scientists discover kids don't like cleaning their bedrooms."
Mark my words.