Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nutrition labeling: coming soon to your neighborhood!

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Did you know that the new health care reform bill that was signed by President Obama this week requires the display of nutritional and calorie information at chain restaurants and vending machines? According to Section 2572 of the bill, any chain restaurants that have more than 20 locations and vending machines owned by businesses that have over 20 machines must display nutritional information for the items on their menus or their machines. This is an important step in providing information to help people make healthy dietary choices. As detailed in one of my previous posts (click here to read it), nutrition labeling has been recommended by the Institute of Medicine as one of its ten national public health priority recommendations to prevent childhood obesity...

One study found that parents who were given a menu with calorie information ordered an average of 102 fewer calories for their children than parents who did not have calorie information available. Calorie and nutrition labeling provides the information necessary to make healthier choices when dining out, not only for children, but also adults. So, be on the look out for this change in the restaurants near you and use it to make healthy choices for you and your kids.

For more information on making healthy food selections, see the CATCH website at http://www.sph.uth.tmc.edu/catch/curriculum_eat_smart.htm. The GO, SLOW, and WHOA foods guide provides information on those foods which are healthy selections and those which are not.

Written by Stephanie Stroever, BS
Graduate Research Assistant