New FDA rules require calorie counts at chain restaurants

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DENVER -- We're used to seeing nutrition information on menus at fast food restaurants and on most products, but now we`ll begin seeing them in other places.

The FDA says establishments that sell prepared foods and have 20 or more locations  have until  November of 2015 to reveal how many calories are in their food and drinks.

Other information about fat, sugar and cholesterol should be available upon request.

The rule applies to places like convenience stores, bakeries, coffee shops, amusement parks movie theaters and vending machines.

The FDA says Americans consume more than a third of their calories away from home. That's why it's important to know what you're getting.

Doctors warn that  obesity is a national epidemic that affects millions of Americans.

The rising rate of type 2 diabetes in children is a big concern.

Dr. Amy Huebschmann of the University of Colorado Hospital says, “The factors that drive obesity are generally eating more food than we need and consuming extra calories as well as being sedentary.”

The idea behind stricter FDA labeling guidelines is to encourage healthier choices. Seeing what`s really in that double cheeseburger may spur some people to pass on it.

Grocery and convenience stores have fought hard against labeling laws, saying the process is costly, reaching the billions in some cases.

It can be difficult to label foods that can be modified by the customer, like pizza, so there are some allowances within the guidelines to address those concerns.

Consumers can expect to see calorie count information missing from a few places that are exempt, like food trucks, trains and airplanes.

Find ideas about how to design a healthy eating plan for your family here.