According to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, obesity is a national epidemic that affects millions of Americans. To counter it, the US government will soon bring sweeping new rules requiring chain restaurants and large vending machine operators to disclose calorie counts on menus to make people more aware of the risks of obesity.

The new calorie rule covers meals at sit-down restaurants, take-out food, bakery items, ice cream and pizza, which will be labelled by the slice and whole pie. Calories must be displayed on all menus and menu boards.

Though some establishments were not happy with the decision, institutions like the National Restaurant Association, which represents 990,000 restaurant and food-service outlets. welcomed the decision. Panera Bread Co in 2010 became the first company to voluntarily display calorie information at all its cafes nationwide.

This is a welcome move by the FDA, as it will make people think twice before consuming unhealthy food, thus reducing the risk of obesity.

Content modified from the post of Toni Clarke and Anjali Athavaley on Reuters.